Friday, 27 April 2012


On April 14, 2012 the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders (IESIS) held a ceremony of remembrance for all those members who perished in the sinking of the Titanic 100 years ago.  After the disaster a plaque was erected in the foyer of the old IESIS building (built 1906-08 at 39 Elmbank Crescent, Glasgow).

Upon the arrival of the guests and at the start of the ceremony Iain played three traditional laments: Flowers of the Forest, Turan Iain Ruaidh (Lament for Red Iain), Muile Nam Morbheann (Mull of the Cool High Bens) and one by Arthur Gillies which is nowadays commonly used at funerals, called Samantha's Lullaby.

The plaque behind Iain on the wall is made of marble and bronze and was designed by the sculptor Kellock Brown. The inscription reads:

To keep alive the memory of the engineers of the "Titanic" who all died at their duty on the fifteenth day of April 1912 when the ship was lost in mid-Atlantic.  This tablet was erected by the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland.

Then the list of the 36 who perished is in 2 columns below.

After the ceremony in which some descendents of men who died were in attendance we adjourned to the hall upstairs.  There are many stained glass windows in the building.  This one is of William John MacQuorn Rankin, a most remarkable man who has many things named after him one of which is a temperature scale.

From a close look at the photograph the top banner appears to be:
"W J MacQuorn Rankin, FRS  LLD".  

The lettering on the bottom rectangle seems to be:
"Wisdom ...... obliterated ...... prudence  findeth out  knowledge of witty inventions."

This is from Proverbs 8:12 King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.), namely,
"I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions."

His full biography is here on The University of Glasgow website. It describes how he was Regius Professor of Civil Engineering and Mechanics from 1855-72 and did a lot for the education of civil engineers including the introduction of sandwich courses where students are required to work in industry and academia.

Rankine worked closely with Clyde shipbuilders. He was a founding member and first President of the Institution of Engineers & Shipbuilders in Scotland in 1857.

The building was sold in 1968 and it now is the home of Scottish Opera (who have it on lease from Glasgow Corporation; the windows belong to the institution).  So Professor Rankine now looks down (from his position in mid-window) upon tympani and black music stands which were there while we were allowed in to have a look during a break in their afternoon rehearsal.


For the record there is this:   A. Barr’s eulogy “W. J. Macquorn Rankine, a Centenary Address,” in Proceedings of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow, 51 (1923), 167–187. [Source is here.]

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