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Director’s Diary: The Gimlet Hole

We are a small museum with a big story, and we are preparing grant applications! This is an important site – an International Landmark Site – and the next crucial development will provide a new gallery for our recently acquired collection of Brunel drawings. We also need to improve facilities for our growing visitor numbers. It is a challenging business!

On this very day in 1828 the Thames Tunnel was beset with problems: six men recently drowned in a terrible flood, young Isambard an invalid in Bristol, Marc in poor health and, as always, money problems. His darkest hour! But Brunel was encouraged by subscribers and began fundraising! The inventor of the shield, the ‘pride of the Empire’, successfully opposed plans to reduce the tunnel to ‘a mere gimlet hole and a disgrace’.

One hundred and eighty one years later the inventor of the shield is still changing cities all over the world. How important, then and now, our Supporters and Subscribers, our Directors and Trustees. Men and women of business and of the arts, of passion and of vision. We rely on them still for advice and guidance. Become a Brunel Supporter! We are not building a gimlet hole!

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