Hidden Brunel bridge is rescued

Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2004 12:45 pm
A surprise discovery has been made on the Grand Union Canal at Paddington - Isambard Kingdom Brunel's earliest surviving iron bridge:

"Lost" Brunel bridge saved

The first iron bridge ever designed by pre-eminent British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel has been found - on the eve of its demolition.

The 166-year-old bridge over the Grand Union Canal was scheduled for destruction to make way for a new road crossing of the rail tracks north of Paddington Station, until details of the bridge's designer were uncovered by chance.

English Heritage's Dr Steven Brindle was researching a new history of Paddington Station. Leafing through Brunel's surviving notebooks he found designs and a record of load-testing for the cast-iron beams of a Paddington canal bridge, dating from 1838.

A spokesperson said that by "extraordinary luck", the bridge was found surviving as the previously inaccessible northern end of the Bishop's Road Bridge, a three-lane bottleneck - about to be demolished.

Now the bridge has been removed from the larger structure it was concealed in, and moved safely away from the construction site.

It is the earliest of only eight surviving Brunel iron bridges in the country.

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, a Brunel enthusiast, described the discovery as "sensational".

"Isambard Kingdom Brunel's bridges were the bridges that took us from wattle huts and horses to the world we live in today.

"It is astonishing to think that in a city like London, such an extraordinary part of our industrial past could lie unknown and undiscovered," Clarkson said.

Cllr Colin Barrow, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Transport at Westminster City Council, said: "We are considering positioning it as a public footbridge over the canal, where it would enhance Brunel's magnificent legacy in this area."

http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/_images/db/9/0/brunel_canal_bridge.90077.full.jpgThe bridge over the canal has now been saved, and may return as a footbridge

Source: This Is Local London
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2004 12:51 pm
This reminds we of onother work by Brunel, the BLACKWALL TUNNEL in Greenwich -
Info and photos HERE! - being wandered by a couple of A2Kers at the London meeting(s).

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, born April 9, 1806, Portsmouth, Hampshire, died Sept. 15, 1859, Westminster, London,
British civil and mechanical engineer of great originality who designed the first transatlantic steamer.

The only son of the engineer and inventor Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, he was appointed resident engineer when work on the Thames Tunnel began, under his father's direction, in 1825. He held the post until 1828, when a sudden inundation seriously injured him and brought the tunnel work to a standstill that financial problems stretched to seven years. While recuperating, he prepared designs for a suspension bridge over the Avon Gorge in Bristol, one of which was ultimately adopted in the construction of the Clifton Suspension Bridge (1830-63) in preference to a design by the noted Scottish engineer Thomas Telford.

As engineer at the Bristol Docks, Brunel carried out extensive improvements. He designed the Monkwearmouth Docks in 1831 and, later, similar works at Brentford, Briton Ferry, Milford Haven, and Plymouth. In 1833 he was appointed chief engineer to the Great Western Railway. His introduction of the broad-gauge railway (rails 7 feet [2 metres] apart) provoked the famous "battle of the gauges." The broad gauge made possible high speeds that were a great stimulus to railway progress. In 1844 he introduced a system of pneumatic propulsion on the South Devon Railway, but the experiment was a failure.

Brunel was responsible for building more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of railway in the West Country, the Midlands, South Wales, and Ireland. He constructed two railway lines inItaly and was an adviser on the construction of the Victorian lines in Australia and the Eastern Bengal Railway in India. His first notable railway works were the Box Tunnel and the Maidenhead Bridge, and his last were the Chepstow and Saltash (Royal Albert) bridges, all in England. The Maidenhead Bridge had the flattest brick arch in the world. His use of a compressed-air caisson to sink the pier foundations for the bridge helped gain acceptance of compressed-air techniques in underwater and underground construction.

Brunel made outstanding contributions to marine engineering with his three ships, the Great Western (1837), Great Britain (1843), and Great Eastern (originally called Leviathan; 1858), each the largest in the world at its date of launching. The Great Western, a wooden paddle vessel, was the first steamship to provide regular transatlantic service. The Great Britain, an iron-hull steamship, was the first large vessel driven by a screw propeller. The Great Eastern was propelled by both paddles and screw and was the first ship toutilize a double iron hull. Unsurpassed in size for 40 years, the Great Eastern was not a success as a passenger ship but achieved fame by laying the first successful transatlantic cable.

Brunel worked on the improvement of large guns and designed a floating armoured barge used for the attack on Kronshtadt in 1854 during the Crimean War. He also designed a complete prefabricated hospital building that was shipped in parts to the Crimea in 1855.
source: Encyclopedia Britannica
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