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Collection

Discover our rich collection of objects from the Brunel archive.

ICE certificate awarding Marc Isambard Brunel the Thomas Telford Silver Medal

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

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'.

Sketch of the tunnel shaft with accompanying text

A shaded sketch of the shield featuring two figures with tools alongside accompanying explanatory text, signed by J. Pinchback and Warrington. Also includes scale markings (50 feet x 40 feet) and figure numbers (1-4).

Lithographic overview of the ‘Great Descents’

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’

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).

Pen-and-ink study of the timbering for the removal of the old shield

Small drawing; a pen-and-ink study, presumably by Richard Beamish, of the timbering for the removal of the old shield

A wash view of the shield

Small drawing presenting a wash view of [?] the shield

Longitudinal section showing the Rotherhithe shaft with the first section of tunnel constructed

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.

Longitudinal section of part of Thames tunnel

Watercolour conveying "Longitudinal section of part of Thames tunnel showing the state of the strata and coveringafter the Run of Sand", signed with monogram [?] "R.P.", inscribed to Brunel's son-in-law Benjamin Hawes MP, dated "3 March 1837".

Transverse section of the Thames Tunnel and strata

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".

Cylindrical tunnelling shield with crank

Watercolour featuring a cylindrical tunnelling shield with crank (apparently for propelling cast-iron segments into place), cut from a larger sheet (conjoint with LDBRU:2017.19), with scale of feet, dated "September 1818".

Cylindrical tunnelling shield (two views)

Cylindrical tunnelling shield, two views, one with a miner at work, cut from a larger sheet with ink-ruled border at left-hand and lower edge (conjoint with LDBRU:2017.20)

Engineering drawings for a tunnel in cast iron

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".

Longitudinal section showing the inundation of the river

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"

Cross Section of the Tunnel showing the extent of displaced ground

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.

Timbering for the Removal of the Old Shield / Side Timbering

Watercolour depicting the "Timbering for the Removal of the Old Shield/ Side Timbering", signed "Rich. Beamish"; cut from a larger sheet

Autograph sketch-plan showing two sections of the proposed cylindrical tunnel

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".

‘Coupe d’une Tounelle pour le service des gens de pied, prise dans toute son étendue’

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

Section of a tripartite shield with twelve miners at work

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.

Section of the tunnel with stagecoach and shield

Watercolour representing a section of the tunnel, showing on the left a stagecoach riding through the tunnel, to the centre and right men at work in the shield; with partial ink border (cut from a larger sheet).

Four views of the Tunnelling Shield

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.

Section of tunnel with overlay (overlay)

Watercolour depicting a section of the tunnel with overlay. The under section shows the shield with its twelve iron frames as seen from the front. The overplay places the brick-work double tunnel entrance over the shield.

Section of tunnel with overlay (under section)

Watercolour depicting a section of the tunnel with overlay. The under section shows the shield with its twelve iron frames as seen from the front. The overplay places the brick-work double tunnel entrance over the shield.

Section of the tunnel, shield and movable stage

Watercolour depicting a section of the tunnel, shield and movable stage, showing one of the arches not yet cut out from the encasing brickwork, attributed to Joseph Pinchback.

Mode of sinking the Shaft

Watercolour depicting the "Mode of Sinking the Shaft" which shows the Rotherhithe shaft surmounted by a steam engine powering buckets-and-pulley soil extraction, with miners digging at the face, attributable to Joseph Pinchback.

Section of one of the iron frames comprising the shield

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",

Three miners at work in the tunnel

Watercolour depicting three miners at work in the tunnel; shows how miners would dig forward, and the whole shield would be driven forward by hydraulics, in exactly the way that was eventually used, on a larger scale, in the "Great Shield"

State of the polling boards after the flooding of the tunnel

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.)

Isometrical sketch of one of the Twelve Iron Frames forming the Shield

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'.

Isometrical projection of one of the Twelve Iron Frames forming the Shield

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.

Cross-section of the whole tunnel

Watercolour depicting a cross-section of the whole tunnel (attributable to Brunel's chief mechanical draftsman, Joseph Pinchback), extending halfway across the river, including the Rotherhithe shaft plus sump and nearby buildings.

Isambard’s descent in the diving bell

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).

Thames Tunnel watercolour

This coloured and hand drawn image features light pastel blue of the depicted Thames on the top left side of the image. Inside the shaft, you can see the workers appear to have got down using a very long ladder. There are also workers operating within the Tunnel Shield structure, and the soil is being …

Plan and section of the Thames Tunnel

With its beautiful colours and precise depiction, it is easy to forget these are highly technical drawings – as well as works of art. This one in particular illustrates the plans for a new drainage tunnel, as well as the position of the shield. The print itself was done in September 1836, therefore showing the …

Red pottery coffee can

Red pottery Thames Tunnel coffee can

Gin flask Thames Tunnel

One salt glazed stoneware Thames Tunnel gin flask

Pottery plate Marc Brunel

One pottery plate showing Sir Marc Brunel

Pottery plate Thames Tunnel

Pottery plate showing the Thames Tunnel with decorative rim and with text starting '1200 Feet Long'

Blue-rimmed pottery plate Thames Tunnel

Pottery plate showing the TT and with blue rim and alphabet embossed on plate

Horn beaker

Horn beaker engraved with the Thames Tunnel

Horn beaker

Horn beaker engraved with the Thames Tunnel

Peep-show with double view

A contemporary Double Peep-Show before 1843, with vista above and below the Thames

Tunnel guide French

A rare early illustrated Guide to the Tunnel in French dated 1839

Tunnel guide English

A rare early illustrated Guide to the Tunnel in English dated 1828

Yates shaft watercolour

A fine and important topographical water colour of the Shaft of the Thames Tunnel by George Yates, dated 1835

Brunel tunnel watercolour

A fine water colour of the Thames Tunnel by Sir Marc Brunel, dated 1835

Marc Brunel mezzotint

An important early mezzotint of Sit Marc Brunel dated 1835

Tile from Thames Tunnel

Original tile from Thames Tunnel, framed Currently Broken and protected in clink film

Blue pottery coffee can

Blue pottery Thames Tunnel coffee can

Pottery ornament Thames Tunnel

One pottery ornament 'Present from the Thames Tunnel'

Structural chains

Chain length cut from Shaft wall during creation of new doorway

GW Transparency

Transparencies of Thames Tunnel

Marc Brunel shoe buckles

Two shoe buckles origionally belonging to Sir Marc Brunel

Commemorative handkerchief

Framed contemporary linen handkerchief with red design showing Grand Entrance hall with 'The Thames Tunnel opened the 25 days of March 1843'

Brunel autograph cheque

A cheque from Isambard Kingdom Brunel dated December 8th 1835

Brunel autograph letter

A short letter from Sir Marc Brunel, dated 16th January 1839

Oil Painting: Thames Tunnel Banquet

Oil painting of Thames Tunnel Banquet by George Jones

Peep-show with barge

A contemporary Peep-show, circa 1952, with Queen Victoria's barge

Cheroot case Thames Tunnel

Papier-mache cheroot case of Thames Tunnel

Papier-mache box Thames Tunnel

Papier-mache box Thames Tunnel

Papier-mache box Thames Tunnel

Papier-mache box Thames Tunnel

Papier-mache box Thames Tunnel

Papier-mache box Thames Tunnel

Glass tankard Thames Tunnel

One glass tankard 'Present from the Thames Tunnel'

Tray Thames Tunnel

One papier-mache tray, view of tunnel

German Tunnel Print

Contemporary German print showing several illustrations of Thames. Entitled Zeichnungen: Verbindunsstrasse von Rotherhithe naach Wapping in London unter der Thamse
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