Brunel : the life and times of Isambard Kingdom Brunel


Brunel : the life and times of Isambard Kingdom Brunel

R. Angus Buchanan

Hambledon Continuum, 2006

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Includes bibliographical references (p. [271]-280) and index



Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) is rightly revered as one of the greatest of all engineers. His leading role in the transport revolution of the nineteenth century, and especially in the building of the Great Western Railway, left an indelible mark on the British landscape. His achievements captured the imagination of his contemporaries and subsequent generations. His colossal energy and determination to carry out projects on the largest scale to an extremely high standard set him apart from his rivals. Brunel tells the story both of the engineer, who followed his father Marc into what was then a new profession, and of the man. It explores his successes and failures, at home and abroad, including both the broad gauge GWR and the SS Great Eastern, bringing out Brunel's imagination, drive and inventiveness. Above all, it sets him in the context of his times, showing both what made him who he was and how he made the most of the great opportunities offered to him.


  • Illustrations
  • Introduction
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1 An Age of Revolutions
  • 2 Apprenticeship
  • 3 Castles in the Sky
  • 4 Bristol
  • 5 The Great Western Railway
  • 6 Overseas Projects
  • 7 Disasters. 8 The Great Ship
  • 9 Other Significant Works
  • 10 The Professional Man
  • 11 Politics and Society
  • 12 Victorian Family Man
  • 13 The Heroic Age of British Engineering
  • Appendix
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index.

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