Discover our rich collection of objects from the Brunel archive.
Copy of Richard Beamish’s Memoir of Sir M. I. Brunel (1866), with a number of manuscript annotations on the flyleaves documenting the Brunel family’s genealogy. Also includes: manuscript dedication from John Kennedy (later Rev. John Kennedy, headmaster of Aldenham School, Herts., 1877-99) to Philip Edward Lee, dated 1865 on the occasion of Lee leaving Eton College; …
Print of the SS Great Eastern's screw shaft and sternpost, from a photograph by Robert Howlett
Print of the inspection of the SS Great Eastern's checking drum, from a photograph by Robert Howlett
Red and cream silk kerchief with printed decoration in black and additional colours of yellow, red and grey applied by hand to the central illustration. The illustration of whole tunnel that decorates the border is similar to one by William Westall. The square central illustration of the interior of the Thames Tunnel is an illustration by James D. Harding. This would have been a more expensive souvenir in comparison to the other commemorative handkerchief in the Brunel Museum collection (LDBRU:2007.2) due to its higher quality and the more laborious production process.
Institution of Civil Engineers: certificate awarding Marc Isambard Brunel the Thomas Telford Silver Medal "...in testimony of the high sense entertained by this Institution of the Benefits conferred by him on the Profession of the Civil Engineer by the design and construction of the Shield at The Thames Tunnel and in acknowledgement of the valuable Drawings of the Shield presented by him to this Institution", calligraphic manuscript executed in imitation of engraving, signed by President and Secretary, London, 15 January 1839, on one sheet of vellum, folio.
A lithograph section of the whole tunnel with three vignettes of the movable stage and other views below (number 1-4), drawn by 'Wm Westall'.
Lithographic overview of the 'Great Descents' (similar to the previous but in a smaller format and omitting the tunnel cross-section), lithographed by Warrington after Pinchback; marked up by Brunel, with in the margin pencilled calculations as to the length of tunnel required for completion, and in the map itself in ink with the same calculations (marked as 727ft 9in at the position of the shield, plus notes of the position of the old shield, compass points, etc.)
Lithographic overview and cross section of the 'Great Descents', after Joseph Pinchback, captioned in ink: "Thames Tunnel/ Plan and Section showing the proposed Pumping Well at Wapping and drain from thence to the Shield forming the 1st article in Mr Brunel's Estimate for the completion of the Tunnel – the section shews the dip of the Strata towards the Middlesex Shore"; (section cut from sheet).
Small drawing; a pen-and-ink study, presumably by Richard Beamish, of the timbering for the removal of the old shield
Watercolour of a longitudinal section showing the Rotherhithe shaft with the first section of tunnel constructed, with two miners in profile working at the upper and lower sections of the shield, two gentlemen inspecting the works [possibly Brunel and a visitor], and a miner wheeling away soil in a barrow; cut from a larger sheet.
Watercolour featuring a "Transverse section of the Thames tunnel and strata...", extensively annotated, and signed with monogram [?] "R.P.", inscribed to Brunel's son-in-law Benjamin Hawes MP, dated "3 March 1837".
Pen-and-ink engineering drawings for a tunnel in cast iron, dated "10 April 1818", and extensively annotated in French and English by Brunel, with notes on brickwork laid in cement and of the cast iron shell indicating thickness at the crown and sides; subscribed "The Cast Iron for a Tunnel of this nature will not exceed 200 Tons for every 100 feet run including the drain".
Watercolour of a longitudinal section (attributable to Joseph Pinchback) of the tunnel, showing the inundation of the river into the workings and the mass of bagged clay dropped on a raft into the riverbed to fill the gap, with the Brunels' engineering assistant Richard Beamish examining the state of the shield with the aid of a bull's-eye; lantern, his companion in a boat; feint caption in pencil "No. 8"
Watercolour illustrating a "Cross Section of the Tunnel showing the extent of displaced ground" at Trinity High Water and Low Water, signed by Joseph Pinchback.
Watercolour depicting the "Timbering for the Removal of the Old Shield/ Side Timbering", signed "Rich. Beamish"; cut from a larger sheet
Autograph sketch-plan by Brunel showing two sections of the proposed cylindrical tunnel, one empty, the other with a coach passing through with wounded veteran and prosperous gentleman across the divide, dated "10 April 1818", and captioned "Two Tunnels of 17 f[eet]. D[iameter] each would be preferable to one of 24 feet".
A watercolour featuring 'a cross-section of the tunnel for pedestrians shown to its full extent', seemingly captioned by Marc Isambard Brunel and signed by his chief mechanical draftsman, Joseph Pinchback ('Drawn by J. Pinchback, 1824) including scale of feet; consists of one long sheet folded into four with some tears and staining
Watercolour showing a section of a tripartite shield with twelve miners at work in the shield; with partial ink border and seemingly a companion piece of LDBRU:2017.11, originally part of the same sheet.
Grisaille watercolour of the design for Marc Brunel's tunnelling shield, comprising four composite views, marked as figures 1-4, showing views of the hydraulic pumps propelling the shield, two with miners at work on the face, annotated in pencil with calculations of tons extracted per feet.
Watercolour depicting section of one of the iron frames comprising the shield used in the construction of the Thames Tunnel, signed and dated "A.H.C./ June 1836",
Pen-and-ink sketch of the "State in which the Polling boards were found after the eruption of the river & the water had been pumped out", with dates indicated at the head showing progress between December 14 and December 16, possibly attributed to William Hawes, brother of Benjamin Hawes, friend of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (initialled Wm H.)
A small woodcut engraving of isometrical sketch (based on the watercolour isometrical projection) depicting sections of the "Great Shield", credited to 'R. Beamish' and 'W. Warrington'.
Watercolour depicting an "Isometrical projection of one of the Twelve Iron Frames forming the Shield/ shewing the manner in which the ground in front was altogether supported", headed "One Frame", signed R. Beamish.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel's autograph drawing showing his descent in a diving bell to inspect damage to the shield of the Thames Tunnel after the flood of May 1827, signed and dated ("I.K. Brunel/ 1827"), showing the bell suspended from a boat crewed by some twenty men, with two figures within the bell, one seated within, the other half out of the bell in order to inspect the damage, secured by rope to his companion (pen-and-ink on wove paper).
Sectional model of Thames tunnel, 1826, by Severn-Lamb Limited, England
Shell engraved with a picture of a steam vessel, captioned: ‘Steam ship Leviathan. Designed by I.K. Brunel Esqr. F.R.S. Built by I.J. Russel Esq. Launch 31 Jany. 1856. Tonnage 24000 tons, Power 2600 horses, Length 690 feet, depth 60 ft.’ The shell has had the outer surface polished to reveal the mother-of-pearl.
Cream cotton/linen handkerchief with printed design in red, commemorating: "The Thames Tunnel opened the 25th day of March 1843.” The central illustration of the grand staircase is most similar to an engraving by Thomas H. Ellis, with additional figures added to the scene. The diagram of the Thames Tunnel is similar to one by William Westall. The quality of the handkerchief suggests it was a mass-produced, relatively cheap souvenir for visitors to the Thames Tunnel, that could have been bought within the tunnel itself.