Meet Our Volunteers
Our volunteers range in length of service from seven years to one week and from actors to engineers. Read about our fantastic volunteers and why they enjoy sharing the Brunel stories so much. Remember that we are always looking for new people to join the team.
A few years ago, I decided to have a complete change. After a long career creating new products for the food industry, I began working for a small local theatre and looking for volunteering opportunities; particularly ones associated with my passion for history and the local area. My husband and I took his uncle, a Professor of Engineering and big fan of IKB, to visit the nearby Brunel Museum. There I picked up a flyer calling for volunteers and I have been here ever since. I became fascinated by the story of the Tunnel and in the life and work of both Isambard and his father Sir Marc Brunel. I have read about them avidly and started my own small collection of Brunel memorabilia. I lead tours of historic Rotherhithe and of the museum, to help spread the fascinating story of the world’s first tunnel under a navigable river and the life of the man who ‘built the world’!
After spending over 20 years working as a quantitative hedge fund manager in the City and London’s West End, I semi-retired in 2016 and now spend my time volunteering for various charities including ones that help asylum seekers speak English and offer help to the more needy members of society.
I have been resident on Rotherhithe Street for over 2 decades and have regularly walked past the Brunel Museum and it always intrigued me as an amazing dedication to the ingenuity and brilliance of the Brunel family in building Britain during the Industrial Revolution. I always felt I had a connection with Brunel ever since I studied Aeronautical Engineering at Bristol University and was lucky enough to live in the shadows of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge during my studies. Volunteering at the Brunel Museum is very fulfilling since we are able to relay the incredible story of the Thames Tunnels to visitors as well as local school children; our next generation of potential engineers!
Maribeth is an American who has lived in London for 9 years. Her educational background is history. With Masters degrees in both History and Information Studies, she started her career as an archivist organising and describing the papers of Sir Joseph Banks held by the California State Library. However, she soon transitioned to business research and knowledge management and spent over 25 years working in corporations and management consulting firms. After retiring a few years ago she began volunteering at the Brunel Museum and has joyfully re-engaged with her interest and love of history. She enjoys guiding our walks because the people that come along are always so interested and interesting and the Brunels’ (Marc, Isamabard and Henri) story is so compelling who can not be interested?
I have an MA in Classical Studies, and spent over a decade working in finance and administration before deciding to re-train as an engineer. I am now most of the way through a combined MEng with the Open University (due to graduate in 2024).
I stumbled upon the Brunel Museum whilst walking the Thames Path in early 2017, and went in for a look around and a cup of tea. I fell in love with the place, and the stories told there. Particularly the early life of Sir Marc Brunel and his wife Sophie, who I’d never heard of before this museum.
Volunteering for me means indulging in and sharing my enthusiasms for engineering, history, and education. Hopefully one day I’ll be part of someone else realising that it’s not too late to move to a more fulfilling career.
I work as a history teacher in a secondary school and enjoy teaching students about the social history of London. This interest has led me to volunteer at a number of different museums across the capital. Prior to this, I taught English for a number of years in South Korea and Italy.
I discovered the Brunel Museum one Sunday morning whilst on a London Walks tour. The incredible story of how the world’s first underwater tunnel also held the world’s first underwater banquet, concert and fairground continues to enthrall me.
I enjoy sharing tales of the tunnel construction with visitors, discovering more about the local history of Rotherhithe, and generally sharing my passion for history with others.
I am currently studying for an MA in Artefact Studies and I have a BA (Hons) in Archaeology and Heritage, so have a passion for all things history!
Growing up, my dad always told me about Isambard Kingdom Brunel and how he engineered great bridges like the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, as well as Paddington Station. Stories like this helped develop my love for history and when I joined the Brunel Museum after moving to the area, I was able to experience the shared passion and the detailed knowledge from the long-standing fellow volunteers here.
I am really pleased to be able to spend my time at such an interesting site that was so pivotal to engineering history, particularly as my granddad spent many years as an Architect and has designed bridges and buildings in the local areas around my home town.
Tianna LaverockI am an Image Archivist for a large Art Gallery in central London.I graduated with a bachelors degree in Anthropology and a minor in History from the University of British Columbia. I have been volunteering with Museums in Canada for 7 years and assisted with 2 archaeological excavations. Always having a keen interest and passion for the past, in 2016 I made the decision to move London which drew me in with its history and beauty.I first became interested in the Brunel Museum when moving to the area in 2018. I attended one of the Midnight Apothecary evenings and loved the space and unique venue. The Museum is a hidden gem of the area that explores the marvel of the Brunel legacy that has gone on to influence the fabric of engineering.I enjoy working with such a friendly and knowledgeable team of volunteers and staff, I look forward to future projects and collaborations.
Katie May AndersonI am a recent graduate who moved back to East London eager to discover the heritage of my local area.I am mainly a researcher of dress and textiles but I have become very fond of the Brunel family through this wonderful site.For me it is the story of the people involved that really brings this place to life, telling their story in the ‘shaft’ with the occasional rumble of a train is really magical.
I am a semi-retired science teacher, currently tutoring Physics students. I have been a volunteer tour guide for several years at the Science Museum but I have only recently discovered the Brunel Museum on my doorstep in East London. I confess to an initial lack of knowledge about Isambard and almost complete ignorance of Marc Brunel’s contributions, but now I am fascinated by the Brunel family. I have a particular love of the Victorian era and one of my favourite tours at the Science Museum is concerned with the development of science and technology in the 19th Century. I particularly like the intimacy of the Brunel Museum where you have more interaction with visitors than in a larger museum and the visitors themselves are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable.
I have been a volunteer at the Brunel museum for 4 years. Before I started volunteering at the museum I was at Lewisham College doing skills for work and I had to have a work experience or a volunteering work placement to get ready to work in the future. I didn’t know the Brunel Museum existed because it is so hidden and if it wasn’t down to my job coach at my college to find somewhere local for me, because I am not very good with my travelling, because I have autism. I volunteer at the museum because I have autism, where I am not good with my speaking and I can get my words mixed up and where I am a very shy girl. Volunteering at the museum has helped me in different ways and has helped me to get so much more confident in different ways and I couldn’t do it without everybody at the museum.
I am a History / RE / Politics teacher in London of over 36 years’ experience I graduated from Queen Mary College [University London] where I first had the opportunity to undertake walking tours. A large section of my degree concerned the History of London. Currently training as a City of London guide.
I have been a volunteer at the Brunel Museum since 2016 undertaking the duties of Museum Guide, shop/front desk but mostly as a tour guide for the ongoing Boat tours and the former Wednesday evening walk. I have also represented the museum, giving a warmly received presentation at Southwark Cathedral during Totally Thames month 2018.
I discovered the Brunel Museum on a Sunday bike ride: was intrigued and then experienced a superb Sunday morning walking tour led by Tim. Following a Boat tour I was hooked!
I am a retired civil servant, not an engineer, but I do admire what engineers have done particularly the Victorians. I came across the museum by accident as many people do. The family story of the Brunel’s is as interesting as the engineering and is appreciated by visitors. I just enjoy telling it.
Peter is semi-retired, lives locally and is currently a part-time
lecturer at Greenwich University.
Christian is French and has been involved with the museum for over 6 years. He has provided security for evening events and is a volunteer local key-holder.