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The IEEE History Center's Milestones celebrate technological breakthroughs or turning points, around a number of which the IEEE Life Members Committee (LMC) organizes technology themed tours. The first tour was to the Panama Canal in March 2010. The second tour was to the United Kingdom in May 2011, as described on this page. The information on this page is presented as it was before the tour occurred. It includes a detailed day-by-day itinerary; general travel and tour information; further information about the hotels, local airports, and transportation to and from the major airports; the Sub-Committee members who planned and led the tour; and can also be downloaded as a PDF format brochure (PDF, 81 KB).

View photo gallery from 2011 IEEE Technical Tour to United Kingdom

View photo gallery from 2012 IEEE Technical Tour to Japan


Day 1 [Arrival Day]: Monday, 16 May

Arrange your own air transportation to London, England; and your own transfer via taxi, tube, or train, from the airport to the The Kensington Close Hotel.  No events scheduled, meals on your own - time to get acquainted with the hotel and the surrounding area.


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Day 2: Tuesday, 17 May - Welcome, Panoramic Tour of London, Science Museum

  • Assemble for the private Tour breakfast at 8 a.m. Time to Welcome everyone to the Tour and conduct introductions.  During this breakfast, the complete Tour will be reviewed, and any last minute changes provided. At 10 a.m., you will board our private bus for the day's events. Lunch is provided. Dinner is on your own. Overview of London and Science Museum Visit, includes:
  • Panoramic Tour of London: an overview of all the main attractions of the city. The tour will pass the most significant sites and areas (Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Bank, Embankment, London Eye, etc.) and will offer plenty of photo stop opportunities; the idea is to cover as much ground as possible in minimum time and to give you an opportunity to "understand  the City," both in terms of history and geography. 
  • Visit to Science Museum is one of the three major museums on Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is part of the National Museum of Science and Industry. The museum is a major London tourist attraction
  • Optional Evening Theater Show: includes dinner and ticket to a London Theater. Cost not included in Tour but will be shown on the Registration Form as an optional item.


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Day 3: Wednesday, 18 May - Time, Flood Control, Pumping Stations and War Rooms

  • Royal Observatory: home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian line, is one of the most important historic scientific sites in the world.  The National Maritime Museum comprises three sites: the Maritime Galleries, the Royal Observatory and the Queen's House. Together these constitute one museum working to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people. 
  • Thames Barrier: the world's second largest movable flood barrier and is located downstream of central London. Its purpose is to prevent London from being flooded by exceptionally high tides and storm surges moving up from the sea. 
  • Crossness Pumping Station (time permitting): built as part of Victorian London's urgently needed main sewerage system. It was officially opened by the Prince of Wales in April 1865. The Beam Engine House is a Grade 1 Listed Industrial Building constructed in the Romanesque style and features some of the most spectacular ornamental Victorian cast ironwork to be found today. It also contains the four original pumping engines which are possibly the largest remaining rotative beam engines in the world, with 52 ton flywheels and 47 ton beams.
  • The Cabinet War Rooms, viewing and reception: The museum comprises the Cabinet War Rooms, a historic underground complex that housed a British government command centre throughout the Second World War, and the Churchill Museum, a biographical museum exploring the life of British statesman Winston Churchill.


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Day 4: Thursday, 19 May - Technical Archives, Franklin's House, National Gallery

  • Royal Institution: where science meets the world. At the RI you can explore two centuries of great scientific breakthroughs, and discover the newest big ideas about our universe and everything in it. Its a museum, an events space, a place to eat and drink, and much more. 
  • IET Archives: THE INSTITUTION OF ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY Archives - IET Savoy Place, - Anne Lockyer (IET Archivist): Visit to the Archives, books and documents and the Savoy Place building itself. The archives are a unique collection of material promoting and preserving the history of science, engineering and technology.  Included are biographies, featured articles, online exhibitions, research guides, information about the IET's history. 
  • Ben Franklin House (IEEE Milestone): In the heart of London, just steps from famed Trafalgar Square, is Benjamin Franklin House, the world's only remaining Franklin home. For nearly sixteen years between 1757 and 1775, Dr Benjamin Franklin - scientist, diplomat, philosopher, inventor, Founding Father of the United States and more, lived behind its doors. Benjamin Franklin House, built circa 1730, is now open to the public as a dynamic museum. 
  • National Gallery: Houses the national collection of Western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries. It is on show 361 days a year, free of charge.
  • Dinner at Criterion Restaurant: The Criterion Restaurant is the only culinary destination in the capital blessed with the romance, grandeur and charisma of a neo-Byzantine design. Few would argue that it is one of the most enchanting and, indeed, memorable restaurants in London.  Perhaps even the world? They would certainly remember the celebrations at the Royal College of Science's First Annual Dinner.  The Chairman that night was none other than H.G.  Wells, the pioneer of science fiction.


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Day 5: Friday, 20 May - Country Side Visits

  • Oxford: A city and county town of Oxfordshire, in South East England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000.  The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through Oxford. 
  • Blenheim Palace: Home to the 11th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.  Set in 2100 acres of beautiful parkland, the magnificent Palace is surrounded by sweeping lawns, award-winning formal gardens and the great Lake, offering an unforgettable visit. Blenheim Palace is a unique example of English Baroque architecture that is situated in Woodstock, 8 miles from Oxford. 
  • Cheltenham: Home of GCHQ (IEEE Milestone): One of the three UK Intelligence Agencies and a part of the UK's National Intelligence Machinery.  GCHQ works in partnership with the Security Service (also known as MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (also known as MI6) to protect the UK's national security interests. Currently the Tour does not include any visits inside their buildings.
  • Dinner at a Country Tavern: Taverns, typical description, with a stylish, upbeat social environment, lounges of a cosmopolitan tone, with both casual & more formal dining areas decked out in wood paneling, chandeliers & framed photographs. Menus include a populist course: substantial mains include grilled lemon sole with parsley & anchovy butter, and there’s a separate bar menu (think pub classics such as sausages, mash & fine beans).


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Day 6: Saturday, 21 May - WWII Code Breaking and Aircraft Museum

  • Bletchley Park (IEEE Milestone): On this site during the 1939-45 World War, 12,000 men and women broke the German Lorenz and Enigma ciphers, as well as Japanese and Italian codes and ciphers. They used innovative mathematical analysis and were assisted by two computing machines developed here by teams led by Alan Turing: the electro-mechanical Bombe developed with Gordon Welchman, and the electronic Colossus designed by Tommy Flowers. These achievements greatly shortened the war, thereby saving countless lives. 
  • de Haviland Heritage Centre: formerly the Mosquito Aircraft Museum, is a volunteer-run aviation museum in London Colney, Hertfordshire.
  • Dinner at a Country Tavern: Another dinner at a local country tavern. Site to be selected.


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Day 7: Sunday, 22 May - Travel by Train, City of York, Train to Edinburgh Scotland

  • Breakfast at leisure at the hotel, then check out; your baggage will be collected by truck to be taken directly to the hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland.  You will then board our private bus to Kings Cross Station to board the train (first Class reserved seats) to journey to the City of York.  At York, you will have the opportunity to walk the medieval city, with lunch included. 
  • Visit City of York: a walled city. The city has a rich heritage and was founded by the Romans in 71 AD.  At the end of Roman rule in 415 AD the settlement was taken over by the Angles.  The Vikings captured the city in 866 AD, and for the period between 866 and the final incorporation of Northumbria into the Kingdom of England in 954  York is sometimes referred to by modern writers by its Scandinavianised form, Jórvík.  The name in its modern form "York" was first used in the 13th century. In the Middle Ages York grew as a major wool trading centre and the ecclesiastical capital of the northern province of England. In 2009 it was the 7th most visited city by UK residents and the 13th most visited by overseas visitors. 
  • At 4 p.m., after visiting the City, re-board the train for the continuing journey to Edinburgh. Check into the IBIS Hotel. 
  • Evening Reception: There will an informal welcoming reception at a local Edinburgh pub or in the hotel bar. However, dinner will be on your own.


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Day 8: Monday, 23 May - Maxwell's Home/Workshop, World Heritage Site & Scottish Whiskey

  • Breakfast at leisure at the hotel, then board our private bus for visiting Glenlair, Scotland (home of James Clerk Maxwell), the New Lanark (World Heritage Site), and possibly other sites. Lunch and dinner are included.
  • Glenlair: Visiting James Clerk Maxwell's Home (IEEE Milestone). Glenlair House, near Corsock in Dumfries & Galloway, is famous as the home of the eminent scientist, Professor James Clerk Maxwell. His importance in the history of scientific thought is comparable to Einstein’s (whom he inspired) and to Newton’s (whose influence he curtailed)”. Between 1860 and 1871, at his family home Glenlair and at King’s College London, where he was Professor of Natural Philosophy, James Clerk Maxwell conceived and developed his unified theory of electricity, magnetism and light. A cornerstone of classical physics, the Theory of Electromagnetism is summarized in four key equations that now bear his name. 
  • New Lanark: World Heritage Site - An award winning Visitor Centre. Beautifully restored 18th century cotton mill village nestled in the spectacular south Lanarkshire valley in southern Scotland, close to the Falls of Clyde and less than an hour from Edinburgh and Glasgow. 
  • Dinner: visit and dinner at a Malt Whisky Society facility.


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Day 9: Tuesday, 24 May - Edinburgh, Scotland Sightseeing

  • Breakfast at leisure at the hotel, then board our private bus for visiting the City of Edinburgh. 
  • City Tour: Bus tour of the City that includes stops at the following locations: 
  • Edinburgh Castle: perched on an extinct volcano, this instantly recognizable fortress is a powerful national symbol and part of Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site. Its story is Scotland's story. 
  • Rosslyn Chapel: properly named the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew, was founded on a small hill above Roslin Glen as a Roman Catholic collegiate church in the mid-15th century. Rosslyn Chapel and the nearby Roslin Castle are located at the village of Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland. In later years the Chapel has featured in speculative theories regarding Freemasonry and the Knights Templar.
  • James Clark Maxwell Foundation: formed in Scotland in 1977 to honor one of the greatest scientists who has ever lived. In 1993 the Foundation acquired Maxwell's birthplace. This elegant Georgian house, after period restoration, is now in active use as an international centre for mathematical sciences. On display is a growing collection of heritage material associated with James Clerk Maxwell, his associates and family circle. 
  • Farewell Dinner and party: a group reception and farewell dinner at a local unique and quaint tavern or restaurant.


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Day 10 [Arrival Day]: Wednesday, 25 May

  • End of Tour after breakfast, Bon Voyage! Breakfast at leisure at the hotel. After breakfast, the Tour is officially complete. Travel from this point is at your pleasure. Additional nights at the hotel are optional. Hotel rates will be extended for those wishing to stay a few more days in Scotland. Depart Edinburgh on your own.


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Tour Costs

The cost of the tour, exclusive of travel in and out of London and Edinburgh, is as follows:

Single Room:              US$4,500 per person
Double Room:             US$3,800 per person

A deposit of US$200 per person will be required during registration for each person planning to take the trip.


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Register for the Technical Tour

If you (and a companion) would like to register to participate in this tour, which includes making the initial deposit, please visit the Registration Site.
  • Registration opens 1 January 2011.
  • Registration must be completed by 15 February 2011.  
  • Final payment must be received by 1 March 2011, in order to confirm your participation. 


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Hotel accommodations and additional nights

In connection with this tour, Sterling Travel Ltd will provide hotel accommodation for all tour participants at the Kensington Close Hotel (London) and the Ibis Hotel (Edinburgh), as follows:

  • Kensington Close Hotel: arrival Monday 16 May, staying until Sunday 22 May (total 6 nights);
  • Ibis Hotel: arrival Sunday 22 May, staying until Wednesday 25 May (total 3 nights).

Accommodation shall be provided in either double or twin bedded rooms (for occupation by two guests, sharing) or in single bedded rooms (for one guest).

The price for this 9 nights’ accommodation package, including full breakfast and lunch every day is included in the total cost of the Tour. Pricing includes dinners on Day 3, 4, 5, 6, and 9.

Transportation to and from the Tour is the responsibility of each traveler. Should any guests wish to extend their stay for up to three additional nights (prior to 16 May in London, and/or after 25 May in Edinburgh), rooms may be through the registration site and will be made available by the hotels, subject to availability. The price per night for any additional night's accommodation booked with Sterling Travel, including full breakfast, shall be:

Kensington Close Hotel (London)

  • £59 per person, per night, sharing twin/double accommodation, or
  • £110 per night for single accommodations.

Ibis Hotel (Edinburgh, Scotland)

  • £52.50 per person, per night, sharing twin/double accommodation, or
  • £99 per night for single accommodation.

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Travel agency

A tour opportunity commissioned by the IEEE Life Member Committee in cooperation with Sterling Travel LTD, London. Please e-mail Scott Atkinson (Tour Coordinator) or George McClure (UK Tour Leader) with further questions about the Tour.

Sterling Travel Limited
Attn:  Mr.  Alan Mellins
78, Queen Street
Maidenhead, Berkshire
SL6 1HY, England


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Tour inclusions

This Tour includes the following:

  • transportation in accordance with the itinerary as described by luxury touring coach, with forced air heating/ventilation system, panoramic windows and full public address system (supplementary charges will apply if a vehicle with bathroom facilities is requested);
  • qualified guide lecturers to accompany the group throughout all organized activities (London based and Edinburgh based);
  • 2-course luncheons including soft drink and coffee as specified daily (days 2-9) at venues mentioned, or similar;
  • 3-course dinners including a third of a bottle of house wine, mineral water, and coffee on days 4, 5, 6, 9 at venues mentioned, or similar;
  • use of a private area at Kensington Close Hotel for breakfast and tour briefing on day 2;
  • private drinks reception for one hour at the Cabinet War Rooms on day 2, including canapés;
  • private docent-hosted tour of the Cabinet War Rooms during the reception;
  • open bar drinks reception with dry snacks, for 30 minutes on arrival at the Ibis Hotel, Edinburgh on day 7;
  • private 3-course dinner at the Malt Whisky Society on day 8, including a third of a bottle of house wine, mineral water, and coffee;
  • optional malt whisky tasting at the Malt Whisky Society (supplementary cost);
  • trip by passenger boat on the River Thames between Greenwich and Westminster on day 3;
  • First class tickets for train journey from London to York and from York to Edinburgh on day 7;
  • Separate baggage truck to take baggage directly from London to Edinburgh on day 7;
  • Admission fees/donations/expenses in connection with visits to places of interest, including: Science Museum; Thames Barrier; Royal Observatory; IET; Ben Franklin House; Royal Institution; National Gallery; an Oxford University college; Blenheim Palace; Bletchley Park; de Havilland Heritage Centre; Glenlair; Maxwell’s grave; New Lanark; Edinburgh Castle; Rosslyn Chapel; James Clark Maxwell foundation;
  • ll gratuities and out-of-pocket expenses incurred by guides and drivers;
  • VAT at 20%.


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Optional activities

Sterling Travel Ltd will be pleased to take advance reservations for optional activities that will be available at individual guests’ choice, and at supplementary cost, as follows:

  • Day 2: Attendance at a hit London musical show, including pre-show dinner.  Details of this event cannot be determined yet, pending publication of London theatre listings for next May.  Individuals expressing interest in this event during registration will be contacted for a final determination and associated extra cost.
  • Day 8: Tutored malt whisky sampling during the dinner event at the Malt Whisky Society; Supplementary cost of $55 per person is listed in the Registration Form.


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Legal and financial information

T. Scott Atkinson, member of the IEEE Life Member Committee, was the prime coordinator for this tour between the IEEE and Sterling Travel.  He can be reached at Members of the sub-committee organizing this tour include: George McClure (Chair of the Life Members Committee and UK Tour Leader) Aleksandar Szabo, Ross Anderson, and Ted Bickart (who organized and lead the Panama Technical Tour in 2010).

This Tour has been designed to be as cost effective as possible for the travelers and is not an opportunity to raise funds for the IEEE Foundation.  However, that said, it is not designed to lose money either. Travelers must realize that there are many uncertainties in organizing functions months in advance where determining cost is very difficult, plus the exchange rate between countries’ currency is subject to change depending upon economic conditions at any given time.

Please note that travelers are responsible for ordinary incidents: trip cancellation for health reasons, weather cancellations, etc., many of which can be covered by travel insurance that you can purchase separately through a travel agency, which should be seriously considered.

The price for the tour is based on a price per person, either a single (US$4,500 pp) or a double (US$3,800 pp), which includes the hotel, as well as land costs. The contracted price is based on a minimum group size of 20 paying guests. If fewer than 20 guest wish to make the tour, Sterling Travel Ltd has reserved the right to adjust the price as may be necessary. If less than 20 have completed their full tour payments by 1 March 2011, those who have registered and paid will be contacted to explain any changes in the cost per person for the Tour. IEEE reserves the right to cancel the complete tour if insufficient individuals register for this Tour.


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Cancellations and attrition penalties

Individuals who register for this Tour agree to the following terms concerning Cancellations.

Individuals wishing to cancel as a result of unforeseen circumstances will be subject to the following penalties upon the specific dates and amounts listed:


1 Jan

1 Jan - 1 Feb

2 Feb - 15 Feb                             

16 Feb -->

1 Mar - 15 Mar

16 Mar - 15 Apr

16 Apr -->









Deposits / Balances

$200 pp

100% Refundable

50% Refundable


Balance Due



Optional Whiskey Tasting

$55 pp

100% Refundable

50% Refundable


Balance Due



Desire Optional Dinner / Theater










Balance due upon acceptance












Hotel Deposits











50% of total Hotel rate

100% of total Hotel rate

Land Deposits









$3,131 divided by # on Tour

40% of total expected cost divided by # on Tour

50% of total expected cost divided by # on Tour

*Applies when all balances have been paid


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Hotels, airports, and transfers


Wrights Lane
London W8 5SP
Tel: 0870 751 7770

 … an excellent choice for business and leisure guests, and only a two-minute walk from the nearest tube station, High Street Kensington.  Walk to local attractions such as Kensington Palace & Gardens, Royal Albert Hall, Earls Court and Olympia Exhibition Centers.  Easy access by car or tube from Heathrow airport, minutes away from the shops of and museums of Kensington and Knightsbridge/Harrods, 20 minutes to the West End/Oxford Street and Theatreland.


When using satellite navigation, please use the postcode: W8 5SP

From Heathrow Airport  HEATHROW (LHR):  Heathrow Airport, 15 miles from central London, is regarded as the hub of the aviation world.  Flying to over 180 destinations in over 90 countries, some 90 airlines have made Heathrow their base.

  • By car (30mins – 13mi): Follow signs from M4, Eastbound to Central London.  M4 Leads into A4.  Continue over the Hammersmith Flyover into Cromwell Road, turn left into Marloes Road just before Cromwell Hospital.  Follow Marloes Road until it veers to the left.  Turn right and you are there.
  • By train: Heathrow Airport to Paddington Station 20 minutes by Heathrow Express Train.  From Paddington Station:  Taxi cost: 8 GBP, Bus fare: 2 GBP, Taxi cost: 60 GBP.  Best to transfer to the Circle Line towards High Street Kensington station - 3 minutes away.  As you come out of the station, turn left down Wrights lane and you will find the hotel at the bottom of the road on the left hand side.

From Gatwick Airport(LGW), the second largest airport in the UK, located 45km (28 miles) south of London. 

  • By car (75mins – 30.6mi): Turn onto the M23 to M25 at Junction 7.  Follow signs for Heathrow then take Junction 15, then same as from Heathrow.
  • By train (30mins): into Victoria Station via the Gatwick Express Train; The Gatwick Express is the fastest way into Central London.  There are trains every 15 minutes between Gatwick Airport's South Terminal and London Victoria Station every day from 4:35 a.m.  to 1:35 a.m.  Standard fares are £16.90 single and £28.80 return.  Journey time is 30 minutes and the service is non-stop to Victoria station.  Change for the Circle Line on the Underground clockwise towards Notting Hill Gate Station: High Street Kensington.


6 Hunter Square
Off Royal Mile
EH1 1QW – Edinburgh
Tel.  : (+44)131/2407000
Fax.  : (+44)131/2407007


Taxis: there are options for taking a taxi to the airport. 
A journey to the airport from city centre typically takes about 25 minutes. 
Many taxis are wheelchair accessible.


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2010-2011 Technical Tours Sub-Committee

Pictured below are the members of the 2010-2011 Technical Tours Sub-Committee.

Please e-mail T. Scott Atkinson (Tour Coordinator), or George McClure (UK Tour Leader), with specific questions.

George McClureT. Scott AtkinsonAleksandar SzaboRoss AndersonTed Bickart
George McClureT. Scott AtkinsonAleksandar SzaboRoss AndersonTed Bickart



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