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Brunel, Isambard Kingdom

Born: 1806 AD
Died: 1859 AD
Nationality: English
Categories: Engineers

1806 – Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in Portsea, Portsmouth on April 9th. Brunel was one of the most versatile and audacious engineers of the 19th century, responsible for the design of tunnels, bridges, railway lines and ships.

1829 – Clifton suspension bridge, Bristol. A competition was launched for a bridge across the Avon to link the hamlet of Clifton and the private estates of Leigh Woods in Bristol.

         – Brunel’s designs won the competition for the Clifton Suspension Bridge across the River Avon.

1831 – Brunel had to enter the competition to design the bridge twice before he won prize on March 16th.

1833 – He was appointed their chief engineer and work began on the line that linked London to Bristol. Impressive achievements during its construction included the viaducts at Hanwell and Chippenham, the Maidenhead Bridge, the Box Tunnel and Bristol Temple Meads Station.

1835 –  One of the ‘string of pearls’ on Brunel’s Great Western Railway. The line, approved by parliament, was six years in the making and tested Brunel’s technical ingenuity.

1840-1841 – Brunel’s Great Western Railway, linking Bristol and London, departed from Temple Meads. Services to Bath started on August 31st and to London Paddington.

1843 – The SS Great Britain, Bristol Dock. The ship was part of Brunel’s dream of an integrated transatlantic service – launched on July 19th, it was the largest and most powerful ship to be built up to that time and the first propeller driven, steam powered iron ship to cross the Atlantic.

         – Brunel’s first notable achievement was the part he played with his father in planning the Thames Tunnel from Rotherhithe to Wapping.

1854 – The roof at Paddington Station, London. The other terminus for his Great Western Railway was only finished – the station had a startlingly modern shed made of three wrought iron barrel arches which supported a glazed roof.

1859 – Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash, near Plymouth. Brunel’s final bridge design, which spans the River Tamar on the border of Devon and Cornwall, was completed in the year of his death.

         – Brunel died on September 15th after suffering a stroke.