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Top of the lot

Special feature - Brunel Bicentenary

English Heritage chairman Sir Neil Cossons names his top 10 Brunel projects.

The Great Western Railway An outstanding rst-generation inter-city line and the only one to survive with its civil engineering works substantially complete, hence its nomination as a World Heritage Site.

Saltash Bridge Elegantly engineered use of elliptical wrought-iron tube and chains, with suspended deck.

The Floating Harbour, Bristol An ingenious and successful reengineering of William Jessop's oating harbour, providing a means of dredging through the Underfall Yard (a sluice that scoured away sedimentation) that continued in use for over a century.

SS Great Britain First great iron ship, a transatlantic passenger vessel, screw-propelled, the ancestor of the modern steamship.

SS Great Eastern Extraordinarily ambitious in every respect. At 692ft long and weighing 18,000t, she was the largest ship in the world when she was built, and when she was broken up - an indication of how far ahead of her time she was.

Not initially successful, but an outstanding cable layer.

Maidenhead Bridge The attest brick arches when built and still standing. Widened, but to the same prole.

Temple Meads Station The rst station shed to fully enclose the platforms and track. The huge 72ft span predates the industrial iron age, and Brunel achieved it in timber. Each arch is a pair of opposing cantilevers - a daring engineering sleight of hand. This train shed terminus of the GWR is still intact and as built.

Paddington Station Not of course the original, but a beautifully engineered series of roof spans with cross transept, all in wrought iron.

The Cornish timber viaducts Brunel's timber arches provided a speedy and economical way of taking branch lines across the challenging topography of Cornwall. All have been replaced with masonry viaducts, but were, nevertheless, ingenious, effective and (for timber) longlived.

The hospital at Renkioi Brunel responded to the need to alleviate the Crimean catastrophe with astonishing speed, producing a modular design, shipped out in a matter of weeks as prefabricated subassemblies.

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