‘Ultimate’ museum of GWR founder opens in Bristol

THE new £7.2 million Being Brunel museum dedicated to the engineering genius who built the Great Western Railway opened on Bristol’s Harbourside on March 23.

The new visitor attraction, next to the SS Great Britain, features six galleries setting out around 150 of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s personal artefacts – many never seen in public before – to provide unprecedented insights into his life, family, interests and creative mind.

A section of pipe from Brunel’s atmospheric railway. BEING BRUNEL

The new museum incorporates the historic Great Western Steamship Company’s Dock Office, a Grade II* listed building where Brunel once worked, which has been restored as part of the project. Visitors can step into the office and see where he designed the nearby steamship.

Brunel’s office has been reconstructed based on a watercolour that was painted by his niece.

Sophia Brunel’s diary and biography of her father – the never-before-seen diary and manuscript biography of Sir Marc Brunel, offer insights into the Brunel family’s relationships and help to highlight the great challenge at that time for women to be permitted to become engineers.

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