The Life of Brunel

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Product ID 06219
Duration 90 mins
The Life of Brunel

The life of the most famous Engineer in British history, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, is captured in this superb new production.

His prodigious output includes twenty-five railway lines, over a hundred bridges, including five suspension bridges, eight pier and dock systems and three ships.

The only son of a French civil engineer, Brunel went to work with his father in 1823 on the building of the Thames Tunnel, and was later appointed resident engineer at the site.

In March 1833, aged just 27, Brunel became chief engineer of the Great Western Railway. His work on the line that linked London to Bristol, helped to establish him as one of the world's leading engineers. Impressive achievements on the route included the viaducts at Hanwell and Chippenham, the Maidenhead Bridge, the Box Tunnel and the Bristol Temple Meads Station.

Brunel then persuaded the Great Western Railway Company to let him build a steam boat to travel from Bristol to New York. The ss Great Western became the largest steamship in the world, and made its first voyage to New York in 1838. The journey to America took fifteen days and over the next eight years made 60 crossings.

The next steamship that Brunel built in Bristol was the ss Great Britain, the first ocean-going ship to have an iron hull and a screw propeller and, when launched in 1843, it set a new record as the largest vessel afloat.

Brunel was equally ambitious in the design of the GWR’s London terminus, Paddington Station, which he was charged with rebuilding in 1849 to accommodate the crowds expected to converge on London for the 1851 Great Exhibition.

Pressure of work led him to an early grave, as he died on 15th September, 1859, watching the Great Eastern in her trials.

This film, produced by Digital Videox, is packed with fascinating archive images and modern day comparisons, and is narrated by the renowned actor Ian Richardson. As an extra feature, you can enjoy the spectacular firework display at the Brunel-designed Clifton Suspension Bridge, completed after his death in 1864, to commemorate the great engineer’s bicentenary.

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The Life of Brunel

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