Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Walking Stick

Contributed by STEAM

Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Walking Stick - courtesy of STEAM and The National Railway Museum

Isambard Kingdom Brunel is best known for creating the Great Western Railway.This walking stick belonged to Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Engineer of the Great Western Railway. It is an unusual object that folds out to become a track gauge. More importantly it was a gauge for the pioneering broad gauge of 7ft. The GWR was unique in using this size gauge and the whole of the network in the 1830s/40s was built using broad gauge. Brunel changed the face of Wiltshire and the South West and was at the cutting edge of engineering and design. Brunel controlled the whole design process and construction of the GWR and it is most likely that he took the walking stick with him when inspecting the newly built lines. The GWR fought hard to keep the broad gauge, but uniformity prevailed and the gauge was eventually changed to the standard gauge of 4ft 8 1/2 inches in 1892.

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