2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the world’s oldest engineering body. To celebrate ICE is running ICE 200 - a campaign to highlight the significant and positive impact that civil engineers have on people’s lives.

Engineering Plymouth was commissioned as part of ICE 200 to celebrate how civil engineers have helped to shape Plymouth over the last 500 years. The film is produced by Wind & Foster, the team behind Engineering the London Underground


Engineering Plymouth is a story about the evolution and prosperity of a city. It follows how, through the skill and foresight of civil engineers, the way people live in Plymouth today has been transformed.

500 years ago, Plymouth was surrounded by rivers, valleys and one of the worlds largest natural harbours. Over time a busy trading port transformed into a centre of voyage and discovery, then a naval defence and finally a port of entry for two World Wars. The film follows how Plymouth's fortunes have risen and fallen with the ebb and flow of the British Empire, and how it stands today transformed from three towns into a city.


The narrated 15-minute film animates 500 years of Plymouth’s archive material including engravings, paintings and war photography. The past is brought to life before diving headfirst into present day aerial drone, hyper-lapse and 360° action cinematography.

The story of the The Blitz and the 1900’s amalgamation of three towns, is told through BFI national film archive footage, covering most of the twentieth century.

The future section was developed with engineering firms and contractors, alongside the University of Plymouth. Cinematic camera techniques and 360° moving portraits marry civil engineers with Plymouth’s landscape, capturing engineers at vista points throughout the city, on land and sea, looking to the future and current projects. 


Engineering Plymouth is narrated by actress, comedian and writer Dawn French who went to school in Plymouth and lives in Cornwall. The film features music by West Devon’s acclaimed singer, songwriter and musician Seth Lakeman.

Engineering Plymouth premiered on 5th November 2018 with a special screening at Plymouth Arts Centre. 


Engineering Plymouth was filmed at the following locations:

  • Plymouth College of Art

  • Plymouth Energy from Waste CHP Facility

  • Plymouth Guild Hall

  • Plymouth Railway Station

  • Plymouth Sound

  • Plymouth University

  • Royal Albert Bridge

  • Royal Citadel Plymouth

  • Royal William Yard

  • Saltash

  • Smeaton's Tower

  • St Andrew's Church

  • Stoke Blockhouse

  • Stonehouse Barracks, Dunford Street

  • Sutton Harbour

  • Tamar Bridge 

  • Tinside Lido

  • Torpoint

  • Torpoint Ferry

  • TR2 Production and Learning Centre

  • Turnchapel

  • A38

  • Oceansgate, South Yard

  • AECOM Offices

  • The Barbican

  • Bovisand

  • Bretonside

  • Charles Cross

  • Dartmoor

  • Derriford Hospital

  • Devonport 

  • Drake's Leat

  • Drake's Island

  • Drake's Circus

  • Eddystone Lighthouse

  • Forder Valley

  • HMNB Devonport

  • Mayflower Steps

  • Mayflower Water Treatment Works

  • Millbay

  • Mount Wise

  • Mountbatten Pier

  • Ocean Studios

  • Plymouth Breakwater

  • Plymouth City Waterfront

  • Plymouth Civic Centre