Sir Marc Isambard and Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Image

Watercolour of Lindsey House by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd, c 1850
enlarge image

Details

Name:Sir Marc Isambard and Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Dates:1769 - 1859

Profession:Construction

Address: 104 Cheyne walk, SW10

Dates at address:1808 - 1825

Biography

The Brunels were the most famous engineering father and son team of the Industrial Revolution. Sir Marc was born in Rouen, France but fled to America in 1793 to escape the French Revolution. He left for England in 1799, marrying Sophia Kingdom in the same year. They had three children: Sophia, Emma and Isambard. Isambard spent two years studying at College Henri Quatre in Paris before returning to join the family business. He married Mary Elizabeth Horsley in 1836 and had two sons.

Sir Marc’s engineering career began in America. A survey for a canal from Lake Champlain to the Hudson earned him the post of New York’s chief engineer. Coming to England he made £17,000 for his design for machine made block-pulleys and constructed many public works before a fire at his Battersea sawmill bankrupted him. Imprisoned for debt, he was rescued by the government and went on to build the Thames Tunnel in 1825 using his patented tunnel shield. This was the first joint venture with Isambard, sparking off a remarkable career. Key achievements include the Clifton Suspension Bridge and his record-breaking steam ship designs, like the Great Western, the first steamer to cross the Atlantic, and the Great Eastern, the largest vessel ever built. Other works include the building and renovation of many of Britain’s dockyards and his appointment as engineer for Great Western Railways, constructing every one of their tunnels, viaducts and bridges.

Cheyne Walk was the Brunels’ home during Marc’s early successes, Isambard’s introduction to engineering and the family’s bankruptcy in 1821. With the launch of their new company and the contract to build the Thames Tunnel, the Brunels left Chelsea behind them.

Click this image to download a free copy of Acrobat Reader in order to read PDF PDF stands for Portable Document Format developed by Adobe.
For help and download tips see About Adobe and PDF files. You need a copy of Acrobat Reader on your computer to access a PDF file. Get either a free copy or upgrade by accessing the following link - download Adobe reader.

If you have difficulty accessing PDF documents, there are some useful online tools available on the Access Adobe website which can convert PDF documents into HTML or text. Click the following link http://access.adobe.com

Virtual Museum – The History of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Home | News | At your service | Local life | top of page
Legal notices | Copyright notices | Comment on this page

Copyright © 1998-2006 The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea