Network Rail Opens Brunel Archive

The amazing architectural vision of a renowned civil engineer is now available amongst online archives.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel shaped modern day Bristol by designing the iconic structures of the city. These included the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the longest bridge in the world at the time of construction, the SS Great Britain which was the first iron steamship to sail the Atlantic, and Brunel’s Old Station which was the Passenger Shed for Temple Meads Railway.

Now the Network Rail virtual archive is using the latest technology to bring you plans and drawings from Brunel’s projects and provide a detailed insight into what life was like in the 19th century. For the first time the public will have full access to more than five million records which are integral to our heritage, and they also include information about other famous engineers such as William Henry Barlow.

Brunel Archive

The archive will chart a pivotal development midway through the 19th century, the building of the Great Western Railway. This connected London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads and transformed the fortunes of workers in the West.  

Vicky Stretch, the archivist for Network Rail, said: “The history of the railway is so fascinating with some of the oldest records dating back to the 1680s and Charing Cross station. The documents we have will help to understand the incredibly beautiful architectural work carried out by some of the world’s greatest engineers, and are important for engineers working today.”

Although she said that it was impossible to showcase all of the 5 million records, the aim would be to share as much with the public as possible through various forms of social media. In that way it creates a great resource and allows the public to learn more about how Britain developed over the years.

If you want to find out more about Brunel’s legacy, consider holding an event or exhibition at the magnificent Brunel’s Old Station, the largest indoor event venue in Bristol. Contact us today.

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