Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Isambard Kingdom was a British mechanical and civil engineer

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BrunelWho was he? Isambard Kingdom was a British mechanical and civil engineer. He was born in 1806 and worked for his whole life on many ambitious engineering projects.

What did he do? Amongst his greatest achievements were the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Great Western Railway and the giant ship, the SS Great Britain.

Engineering claim to fame? One of Brunel’s many claims to fame was his work on the Great Western Railway, which connected London to the West. Brunel engineered an array of impressive tunnels, viaducts and specially designed stations whilst you can still see to this day.

Back to the drawing board? One of Brunel’s ideas that didn’t work so well was his vacuum powered railway. Although an experimental railway was built, one of its key components relied on leather which in turn had to be kept supple with tallow (animal fat – yuk!) unfortunately this attracted rats which then gnawed through the leather!

Fascinating Fact? Brunel was relatively short, he therefore wore a high stovepipe hat to make himself appear taller.

Where can you find out more? If you love trains and are interested in Brunel, why not see if you can visit the Museum of the Great Western Railway.

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