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Brunel Bicentenary

Special feature - Brunel Bicentenary

1806 Isambard Kingdom Brunel born.

1818 Entrepreneur father, Marc Brunel, invents and patents tunnelling shield.

1820 Brunel begins education in Caen, France.

1821 Marc Brunel imprisoned for debt.

1822 Brunel finishes education.

Joins his father's drawing office in London.

1824 Thames Tunnel Company formed. Brunel tasked to design an engine run on carbonic gas.

1825 Thames Tunnel work starts.

1827 Brunel appointed Thames Tunnel RE.

Roof collapses. Brunel stages banquet in tunnel to celebrate the project's recovery.

1828 Brunel injured in second Thames Tunnel flood, saving some of the workers. While convalescing, enters first Clifton bridge design competition.

1829 Drainage works, Tollesbury, Essex.

1831 Wins second Clifton Bridge design competition.

Completes observatory at Kensington. Designs new dock work at Monkwearmouth, Sunderland.

First railway trip.

1832 Begins work on enlargement and modernisation of Bristol Docks.

1833 Chief engineer of the Bristol Railway, later the Great Western. Starts surveying the route. Abandons Gaz engine.

1834 First Great Western Railway Bill rejected in Parliament. Sluices constructed at Bristol Docks to scour away sedimentation. Brunel-designed dredger put into operation.

1835 Second Great Western Railway Bill passed. GWR adopts Brunel's broad gauge. Thames Tunnel construction restarts.

Brunel proposes steamship between Bristol and New York. Appointed engineer for Cheltenham & Great Western Union, Bristol & Exeter, Bristol & Gloucester, and Merthyr & Cardiff railways. Recommends broadening of Bristol Docks' south lock.

1836 Appointed engineer to Great Western Steam Ship Company. Marries Mary Horsley. Starts work on Clifton Suspension Bridge, paddle ship SS Great Western and Box Tunnel.

1837 Launches the SS Great Western. Work starts on Bristol's Royal Western Hotel.

1838 SS Great Western's maiden voyage. Brunel injured in engine room re. SS Great Western makes 15-day Atlantic crossing. GWR Paddington to Maidenhead section opens.

Starts work on Bristol Temple Meads Station. Broad gauge comes under attack. Son, Isambard II, born.

1839 Maidenhead Bridge opens.

GWR extended to Twyford.

Great Western Steamship Company builds dockyard and engine factory to Brunel's designs. Starts construction of SS Great Britain. Appointed engineer to South Devon Railway.

Brunel's broad gauge locomotive design dismissed in favour of design by GWR locomotive superintendent Daniel Gooch.

1840 Redesigns SS Great Britain's hull for screw propeller. GWR sections from London to Hay Lane, and Bristol to Bath open.

1841 Box Tunnel and Bristol Temple Meads Station completed. Full London to Bristol route opens. Appointed engineer to the Bristol & Exeter and Oxford railways. Eight passengers killed when their train runs into a landslip at Sonning cutting.

1842 Bristol to Taunton section of Bristol & Exeter line opens.

Second son, Henry Marc Brunel, born.

1843 Swindon locomotive works and Thames Tunnel open. Launch of SS Great Britain.

Hungerford suspension footbridge completed.

Appointed engineer to South Devon Railway and to the Piedmont Railway, Italy 1844 Lines to Exeter and Oxford open. Appointed engineer to South Wales, Wilts, Somerset & Weymouth, Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton, Berks & Hants, Oxford & Rugby, and Monmouth & Hereford railways.

1845 Maiden voyage of SS Great Britain. Construction of Bristol Docks' new south entrance starts. Appointed engineer of Cornwall and West Cornwall railways. London's Hungerford footbridge opens.

1846 GWR extended to Teignmouth and Newton Abbot.

Appointed engineer to the Birmingham & Oxford Junction Railway. Brunel examines damage to SS Great Britain after she runs aground.

1847 Daughter, Florence Mary, born.

Brunel-designed atmospheric traction system used on ExeterTeignmouth section of South Devon Railway. Great Western Steamship Company bankrupted.

1848 Atmospheric system extended to Newton Abbot but later abandoned. Designs bridges for GWR Slough to Windsor branch. Starts construction of Chepstow Bridge and viaducts at Landore and Newport.

1849 GWR Windsor branch opens. South Devon Railway completed to Plymouth. New Bristol Docks' lock completed, spanned by tubular swing bridge.

Begins designing permanent station for Paddington.

1850 Appointed to the building committee for the Great Exhibition. South Wales Railway opens from Chepstow to Landore. Begins design of permanent terminus building at Paddington.

1851 Designs timber trestle viaducts for Cornish railways.

1852 Paddington Station construction starts. West Cornwall Railway opens from Truro to Penzance. Chepstow Bridge opens. Designs brick water towers for relocated Crystal Palace. Appointed engineer of Eastern Steam Navigation Company.

1853 Chepstow second span opens. Starts design of the SS Great Eastern. Work on Royal Albert Bridge over the River Tamar at Saltash starts.

1854 Paddington Station opens. Appointed engineer for unrealised Westminster Terminus Railway.

Construction of SS Great Eastern starts.

1855 Designs prefabricated military hospital for use in Crimea.

1856 SS Great Eastern's fabricator, Scott Russell, is bankrupted.

1857 Launch of SS Great Eastern fails. Draws up plans for the East Bengal Railway.

Road bridge at Balmoral opens.

Supervises erection of rst (Cornish) span of the Saltash Bridge.

1858 SS Great Eastern successfully oated.

Second Saltash span erected.

1859 Fatal engine room explosion during SS Great Eastern sea trials. Royal Albert Bridge completed.

Brunel dies, 15 September.

1864 Clifton Suspension Bridge opens.

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