News

Stay in the loop and go behind the scenes at the museum, with articles by our director, learning manager and volunteers, there is never a dull moment.

Opening crowd

Difficult as it may currently be to imagine happily joining a crowd, that is what I am asking you to envision: On Saturday 25th March 1843, the Thames Tunnel finally opened, eighteen years after the start of the project. Visitors eagerly arrived in Rotherhithe on foot, coach, horseback or by boat. A printing press had […]

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Do You Have Any Brunel Memorabilia?

We know that many of our visitors are Brunel enthusiasts and have collected or inherited various wonderful items. This gem is from the collection of volunteer Gill Howard. What treasures of Brunel memorabilia have you collected? Brunel’s Own Copy of An Explanation of the Works of the Tunnel Under the Thames from Rotherhithe to Wapping […]

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A small museum in Rotherhithe with a very big story!

The Brunel Museum is in the Engine House on the site where Marc Brunel’s world famous 1843 Thames Tunnel was created.  Arising from COVID-19 and the ensuing government guidance, the Museum’s doors have had to close and the impact of the loss of income is significant  – and will be for many months to come. […]

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Working at the Face – Inspiration

To construct the Thames Tunnel, Marc Brunel built the first ever “travelling shield”. Made of iron and weighing more than seven tons, it contained 36 adjacent cells all of which contained a miner working independently. The design for the shield was inspired by Marc’s observation of the shipworm “teredo navalis”, which excretes digested wood to […]

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Pioneer of Prefabrication – Brunel’s Hospital at Renkioi

Would you believe that our hero Isambard Kingdom Brunel was a pioneer of prefabrication?

Doesn’t sound Victorian-style but in times of national crisis some extraordinary things can be achieved. We have recently been amazed by the speed of the herculean task of turning conference centres such as Excel into fully functioning hospitals for high-risk patients.  In 1855 Isambard Kingdom Brunel was set a similarly daunting task. To design and create a state of the art modular hospital that could be produced in the UK and then transported and erected on an unknown site in a war zone thousands of miles away. He achieved the entire project in 5 months, here is the story:-

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Happy East London Line Day!

What is your favourite train-related fact? For us, it has to be that the Thames Tunnel is the oldest structure on the oldest underground network in the world! Originally built for horses and carts, it was opened as a foot tunnel and tourist attraction in 1843. By the end of the 1860s it had been […]

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Digging the Tunnel

Thirty-six miners stood in individual cells inside the Tunnelling Shield. They faced a wall of wooden planks held in place by iron rods and butted up against the soil. Each miner would remove one plank at a time and dig away the soil to a depth of four inches. Then, replacing that plank he would […]

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Happy Birthday to Sir Marc Isambard Brunel!

Born on the 25th of April 1769 in Hacqueville, Normandy, France, he fell in love with an English woman (Sophia Kingdom) and, after a number of adventures, came to live in England to be with her. Their son was the famous Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Marc was an engineer at least equal in insight to his […]

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Happy Birthday Isambard Kingdom Brunel!

IKB By Gill Howard (Volunteer) This is my favourite photograph of IKB because without his hat and his usual working clothes, he appears more accessible and human. It makes me realise that as well as being an incredible engineer, architect, pioneer, hugely brave and driven individual, he was a father, a friend and a husband.  […]

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Views from your window

Now that the spring is coming what are you seeing? Take some photos from your window and send the best one to us with a caption. We will publish a selection of these on our website. Above is Sarah’s photo. Her caption is: ‘Everything looks so bright and calm’. You can contact us on here […]

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