Presidents Blog

Celebrating our past and looking ahead to tomorrow

[fa icon="calendar"] Jun 1, 2017 2:53:00 PM / by Dr Miles Watkins, IQ President

Dr Miles Watkins, IQ President

IQ Quarry Garden ImpressionWe are now halfway through our centenary year. The focus of the celebrations has been to demonstrate and showcase how far both the mineral extractives industry and the Institute of Quarrying have come over that time. As an industry we have progressed in so many different respects, from employee training and development to health and safety standards and environmental awareness. The activities and events we have already held along with the ones yet to come are not just about reflecting on the progress and development of the industry, but also to look ahead and outline our vision and goals for the next 100 years.

Nostalgic celebrations

Earlier this year, we invited a number of IQ presidents from previous years to a special centenary event at IQ’s headquarters in Nottingham, to share their own memories and experiences of working in the quarrying industry. It was a fantastic way to rediscover how far we have come as an industry over the last 100 years in areas such as employee training and development, health and safety awareness in the workplace, and our environmental programmes. It is now up to us to continue this momentum with the next generation of professionals who are coming into the sector, who must not only maintain these standards, but also work on the new challenges we will face in the next chapter of our industry.

To watch exclusive interviews from the day with some of our guests who shared their quarrying stories and presidency highlights with us, visit the ‘Past presidents reunite for IQ centenary’ item on

Quarry Garden

Our landmark centenary event this year, the Quarry Garden, is a spectacular show garden we are displaying at the first ever RHS Chatsworth Flower Show in the stunning Derbyshire countryside. Why a garden?, you might ask. The idea came from one of our members at a centenary discussion and planning event back in 2015, to create something extraordinary that would deliver a powerful message to the public on how essential the mineral extractive sector is to our modern world. 

Over the past two years, we have worked with an award-winning designer, Paul Hervey-Brookes, young horticulturalists from Nottingham Trent University, numerous industry supporters and more to bring this landmark project to life. Not only will the garden be on display at RHS Chatsworth, but it will also be repurposed afterwards at the National Memorial Arboretum – creating a wonderful legacy for quarry professionals and members of the public alike to enjoy for years to come. I would like to personally thank Tarmac, Hanson, CEMEX, Aggregate Industries and the University of Derby for early commitment of significant resources to bring the Quarry Garden to life. To see more about our Quarry Garden story, visit

Looking ahead

Our centenary year is as much about looking ahead as it is about revisiting our progress so far. Later this year we will be holding a centenary conference and dinner as a positive celebration of those who are developing their careers in quarrying. With continuous professional development an integral aspect of our role, it seems only fitting that we end our centenary year with an event that shines the spotlight on the future talent of our sector and how we are nurturing them for their role in the next chapter of quarrying.

The IQ centenary conference is taking place on 19 October 2017 at The Belfry. Look out for further information as it is released later this year.

Topics: Industry