How a city was shaped

Mi­randa Hous­den, re­gional di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tu­tion of Civil En­gi­neers, tells JUDI SPIERS about a film cel­e­brat­ing 500 years of en­gi­neer­ing in­no­va­tion in Ply­mouth

Devon Life - - Plymouth's Engineering -

When the trailer for a new film hit the web­site of a lo­cal news­pa­per re­cently it at­tracted 34,000 views in 24 hours. We’re not talk­ing the lat­est Hol­ly­wood block­buster but a film re­leased by the In­sti­tu­tion of Civil En­gi­neers (ICE) called ‘En­gi­neer­ing Ply­mouth’ which tells how over the last 500 years civil en­gi­neer­ing has shaped Ply­mouth and trans­formed lives for the bet­ter.

“Greeks, Ro­mans, Egyp­tians, Baby­lo­ni­ans, Ply­moth­i­ans all pre­vail!” de­clares the nar­ra­tor, Dawn French.

“This is a vi­brant mul­ti­cul­tural city con­tin­u­ing to evolve. Civil en­gi­neer­ing shaped the past and is shap­ing the fu­ture of this the largest city on the south coast.”

Mi­randa Hous­den, re­gional di­rec­tor of ICE and the woman be­hind the project, is keen to re­in­force this mes­sage.

Did You Know these facts about Ply­mouth?

One of the coun­try’s first civic wa­ter sup­plies was Drake’s Leat.

In 1689 King Wil­liam III or­dered civil en­gi­neers to cre­ate a new dock­yard.

In 1703 Win­stan­ley’s Light was blown off Ed­dy­s­tone Rocks.

In 1755 John Rud­yar’d re­place­ment light­house burned down.

In 1759, the 24 can­dles of the third Ed­dy­s­tone Light­house shone out for the very first time.

It took two gen­er­a­tions of the Ren­nie en­gi­neer­ing fam­ily be­fore Ply­mouth Break­wa­ter was fi­nally com­pleted in 1848.

Ply­mouth Dock was re­named Devon­port in 1824 as Sir John Ren­nie be­gan to plan, with Philip Richards, the con­struc­tion of the then state-of-the-art Royal Wil­liam Vict­ualling Yard..

“I want to get peo­ple to un­der­stand what civil en­gi­neer­ing is and what a great pro­fes­sion it is. When I joined ICE I re­alised how in­cred­i­bly mod­est and hid­den the pro­fes­sion is. En­gi­neers never take credit for any­thing. They are very col­le­giate it’s very much about the com­pany and not about them­selves.

“So I’m try­ing very hard to show­case them and as we have the ICE 200th an­niver­sary this year it was an op­por­tu­nity to show how they trans­form peo­ples lives.” As well as fea­tur­ing iconic land­marks in­clud­ing Smeaton’s Tower and Tin­side Lido, the Guild­hall and St An­drew’s Church, the Ta­mar and Royal Al­bert Bridges, Fort Bo­visand and the Ply­mouth and Dart­moor Rail­way, the film uses wa­ter­colours, oil paint­ings, en­grav­ings and maps all brought to life by an­i­ma­tors from around the world.

There is even drone footage of the pupils of High Street Academy in Stonehouse spell­ing out the word PLY­MOUTH.

Mi­randa is thrilled by the sup­port the project has had from the com­mu­nity with fund­ing from 14 re­gional part­ners and over 30 or­gan­i­sa­tions.

“The amount of good­will to­ward mak­ing this film has been in­cred­i­ble,” she says. “I see it as a mas­sive col­lab­o­ra­tion.”

‘En­gi­neers never take credit for any­thing. They are very col­le­giate it’s very much about the com­pany and not about them­selves’

As well as be­ing ex­hib­ited at Ply­mouth’s new cul­tural at­trac­tion The Box, she hopes lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions will want to screen the film and sees it as a valu­able part of the Mayflower 400 pro­gramme.

As Dawn French says in the nar­ra­tive, “The Po­ten­tial for Bri­tain’s Ocean City is enor­mous. More than 30 towns and cities scat­tered across the world share its name, but this Ply­mouth is the mother of them all.” For a screen­ing of the film con­tact­[email protected]

Pho Nam

With the authen­tic taste of Viet­namese cui­sine, Pho Nam de­liv­ers a su­perb yet in­no­va­tive din­ing ser­vice, in­spired by the cul­ture of Viet­namese street food.

Frou Frou

Housed in a 17th cen­tury grade 2 listed build­ing, this Parisian-style café, bistro and bar is charm­ing and rus­tic with a friendly am­biance.

Elsie May’s

Mandy Jenks opened this vin­tage-in­spired café in her grand­mother’s name, to hon­our her work as a caterer. Ex­pect de­li­cious homemade cakes.

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