My visit to the Brunel Institute 20th May 2015 by Adam King:
Working with the reference collection in the David MacGregor Library I found out that Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in 1806 and died in 1859. I also learned that Isambard was only just over 5ft tall!
I worked with Helen our CLV Officer to make a list of Brunel’s major engineering projects in the UK. I cross- referenced different sources, using indexes to locate each of Brunel’s projects on his list and find out further information. In this case I located the date of completion for each project and for some projects he discovered both when the project began and was completed (or in some cases abandoned).
To complete this visit to the Brunel Institute I was able to see an archive item from the vault. I chose to see one of Brunel’s early designs for the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Dated November 1829, this is thought to be Brunel’s favoured design which he named ‘The Giant’s Cave’ design.
Helen Jeffrey, CLV Officer says: Adam studied the design and was impressed with Brunel’s meticulous detail not just to the bridge drawing but also to the landscape of the Avon Gorge, giving the design even more impact in the surrounding landscape.
Adam learned about conservation of archive material and the importance of wearing gloves when looking at items from the vault. He was very careful not to touch or bend the paper, even of the reference books.