Imperial Engineers: The Royal Indian Engineering College, Coopers Hill
Published: April 2022© 2022
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 432 Pages
Illustrations: 32 b&w illustrations, 3 b&w maps, 4 b&w figures, 8 b&w tables
Dimensions: 6.60 x 9.60
432 Pages, 6.60 x 9.60 x 1.25 in, 32 b&w illustrations, 3 b&w maps, 4 b&w figures, 8 b&w tables
Established in 1871 on the outskirts of London, the Royal Indian Engineering College at Coopers Hill was arguably the first engineering school in Britain. For thirty-five years the college helped staff the government institutions of British India responsible for the railways, irrigation systems, telegraph network, and forests. Founded to meet the high demand for engineers in that country, it was closed thirty-five years later because its educational innovations had been surpassed by Britain’s universities – on both occasions against the wishes of the Government of India.
Imperial Engineers offers a complete history of the Royal Indian Engineering College. Drawing on the diaries of graduates working in India, the college magazine, student and alumni periodicals, and other archival documents, Richard Hornsey details why the college was established and how the students’ education prepared them for their work. Illustrating the impact of the college and its graduates in India and beyond, Imperial Engineers illuminates the personal and professional experiences of British men in India as well as the transformation of engineering education at a time of social and technological change.
List of Figures and Tables
List of Abbreviations
1. Dastardly Murder
2. "This College Has Been Established at Cooper's-Hill"
3. The Prime Years: 1871–1896
4. Student Life
5. An Officer of the Indian Telegraph Department
6. Jungle Wallahs
7. Engineers in India
8. Crisis, Diversification, and Closure: 1896–1906
9. The Coopers Hill Society
10. Conclusions and Reflections
"With sharp insight and a wealth of detail, Richard Hornsey tells the remarkable story of the Royal Indian Engineering College. Though short-lived, the college at Coopers Hill exerted an outsized influence on both the landscape of South Asia and the shape of British engineering education. Imperial Engineers belongs on the shelves of all who wish to understand this important part of the legacy of the British Raj."Bruce J. Hunt, Associate Professor of History, The University of Texas at Austin
"Imperial Engineers is well-researched. The book’s strength is the level of empirical detail in all aspects of the history of the Royal Indian Engineering College, Coopers Hill. It is also notable that it follows the graduates to the field in India in order to analyze how their training – technically and ‘mentally’ – at Coopers Hill impacted their careers, lives, and professional engineering approaches. This book will be of interest to scholars and students concerned with the history of the British Empire and the history of engineers, technology, and science."Casper Andersen, Associate Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas, Aarhus University