On 2 January 1818, three young engineers met in a London coffee shop and founded the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the world’s first professional engineering body. They had hoped that lots of engineers from different engineering backgrounds would join the institution. However, civil engineering hadn't really become an official profession yet and before the 19th century most engineers were in the armed forces. After two years of struggling to attract new members, ICE asked Thomas Telford to become its first President. Using his political and social connections, Telford helped to bring in many new members, from the UK and overseas. But his most important role was getting ICE's Royal Charter in 1828. ICE has since become home to many of history's greatest engineers and now has over 80,000 members around the world.