Inventors: Isambard Kingdom Brunel

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By John Davisteacher and freelance writer

Build different types of model bridges and learn about the civil engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

About Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Brunel

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (Kingdom being his mother’s maiden name) was the son of a famous father. French born Marc Brunel worked on tunnels under the River Thames in London and was joined by Isambard when he became a teenager. Later, as chief engineer to the Great Western Railway, Brunel was responsible for the completion of over 1600 kilometres of railway track as well as the bridges to carry lines over rivers and roads and the tunnels to take them through hillsides.

Brunel’s most famous bridges are those at Saltash, Maidenhead, Chepstow and Clifton, Bristol and he was also responsible for the construction of the three and a half-kilometre-long Box Tunnel on the Bristol to London railway line.

Later in life, Brunel switched his design and construction skills to three great ships, The Great Western, The Great Britain and The Great Eastern. The Great Britain is the only one that survives. It can be seen at Bristol in the dock in which it was originally built.

Brunel's Great Britain
Photo from Matt Buck / Wikimedia Commons

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