During the 17th century there was an evolution from the craftsman to the professional engineer with a scientific background. Through the 18th century they found a need to band together for the purposes of identification and to further their expertise by regular meetings. Thus many professional societies were formed throughout the country.
In the coalfields there was a growing need for mining men to join together to discuss common problems to their mutual benefit. In the Great Northern Coalfield of Northumberland and Durham the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers was the first to form in 1852 followed by others in the other major coalfields with the North Staffordshire Institute of Mining Engineers forming in 1872.
From the first it was mooted that these provincial organisations would benefit from federation. However, this did not happen until 1889 when The Institution of Mining Engineers was formed by the mutual agreement initially of four institutes with the others joining later. In 1915 the national Institution gained a Royal Charter with the object of "The advancement of coal and iron ore mining and allied industries and the promotion of the acquisition of the knowledge necessary for the control and direction of mining operations in relation to stratified deposits." The Institution of Mining and Metallurgy gained its Royal Charter at the same time but confined its interest to non-stratified deposits.
The Royal Charter enabled the Institutions to maintain a definite and high standard of professional competence and conduct on the part of its members. The Institution of Mining Engineers absorbed the National Association of Colliery Managers in 1968 and the Institution of Mining Electrical and Mining Mechanical Engineers in 1995 before being absorbed into the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy in 1998. More recent mergers have been with the Institute of Materials in 2002, the Institute of Packaging in 2006 and the Institute of Clay Technology, also in 2006.
Thus the North Staffordshire Institution of Mining Engineers, now known as the Western Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, is affiliated to the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3).
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