At nineteen, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was in charge, under his father, of an engineering work that excited the wonder of Europe: the Thames tunnel, completed in 1843. Twice it disastrously flooded while he was in it. At twenty-five, he designed the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which was completed posthumously in 1864 using chains from his own Hungerford Suspension Bridge. He was the engineer and architect of the Great Western Railway, designer of a pre-fabricated hospital in the Crimean war, and of some of the first great Trans-Atlantic steamships. The work for which he is probably best remembered is his construction of a network of tunnels, bridges and viaducts for the Great Western Railway. In March 1833, he was appointed their chief engineer and his work began with the line that linked London to Bristol. This short biography by the classic engineering history writer L.T.C. Rolt, first published by Methuen in 1965, traces Brunel's life and career, and recreates the man of immense energy who came to dominate civil engineering in the nineteenth century and whose legacy can still be seen nearly two centuries later.
Publisher: The History Press Ltd