Brunel was born in Portsmouth, 1806. His father, Marc Isambard Brunel, was a French engineer who had made his name in France and New York before moving to England.
Growing up, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was educated in both France and England learning information to enable him to become a great engineer.
Brunel went on to work for his father for five years, mostly as a residential engineer on the Thames Tunnel. Work was suspended in 1828, when a flood destroyed much of the tunnel. Brunel was badly injured during the flood and was sent to convalesce in Bristol where he was encouraged to enter a competition to design a bridge to span the picturesque Avon Gorge. Three years later, the judges declared him the winner, and Brunel set to work on the bridge, Clifton Suspension Bridge, which is now a Grade I listed structure that attracts visitors from all over the world.
The work for which Brunel is probably best remembered is his construction of a network of tunnels, bridges and viaducts for the Great Western Railway. In 1833, he was appointed their chief engineer and work began on the line that linked London to Bristol. Brunel pioneered new developments, for instance he introduced the broad gauge in place of the standard gauge on this line.
Brunel proposed to extend his transport network across the Atlantic, and so the Great Western Steamship Company was co-established for this purpose, by Brunel and Thomas Guppy, a marine engineer and businessman. A construction committee was formed of Brunel, Guppy, Captain Claxton RN who was Quay Warden of Bristol Docks, and William Patterson, a shipbuilder and Navel Architect Who's own company was responsible for building Brunel's designs. The Steamship Company became notable for the Great Western, the Great Britain, and the Great Eastern. All three were the biggest steam ships at the time they were built.
Brunel and his works are on display in the following galleries:Edit
- Brunel Himself in the Contributing Wrap
- S. S. Great Western (models)