Isambard Kingdom Brunel

9 April 1806 – 15 September 1859

Isambard Kingdom Brunel FRS MInstCE was an English civil engineer and one of the main architects of Britain’s industrial revolution.

Brunel was born in Portsmouth where his father and French civil engineer, Marc Isambard Brunel was working on block-making machinery. In 1822, he went to work for his father and his first notable achievement was helping him plan the Thames Tunnel from Rotherhithe to Wapping.

Hailed as one of the engineering giants of the 19th century, Brunel is best remembered for his construction of a network of tunnels, bridges and viaducts for the Great Western railway (GWR). He also designed several famous ships, including SS Great Britain, the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship, and was responsible for the redesign and construction of many of Britain's major docks, including Bristol, Monkwearmouth, Cardiff and Milford Haven.

Brunel’s projects were not always successful but they very often contained innovative solutions to long-standing engineering problems. Ultimately, his pioneering work revolutionised public transport and modern engineering.

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