The Brunel Museum is a registered charity and independent museum, opened in 1975 and run by volunteers under the management of the Museum Director and Board of Trustees. The original building was designed by Brunel to house pumping engines, and is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument on an International Landmark Site. It commemorates the works of Sir Marc Isambard Brunel and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and the birthplace of the tube system. The Thames Tunnel opened as an underwater fairground but is now the oldest tunnel in the oldest underground system in the world. This is where Isambard Kingdom Brunel began and almost ended his career, aged nineteen years. The Scheduled Ancient Monument houses paintings, contemporary guide books, models, statues and peepshows. The Engine House stands in a conservation area on the banks of the River Thames, and is run by a team of volunteers under the management of the Museum Director and Board of Trustees. The charity won The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2010. Notable exhibits include an oil painting of the world's first underwater banquet and an eccentric collection of souvenirs bought in the world's first underwater shopping arcade. The Accredited Museum has an expanding collection and recently acquired a life-size portrait of I. K. Brunel by Bryan Organ, the royal portraitist. Today, the charity is fundraising to fit out a new gallery and performance space in a huge subterranean chamber above the railway line. The chamber is half the size of Shakespeare’s Globe and has been opened up for the first time in 145 years. There are regular guided descents by temporary staircase, advertised on the website. But perhaps the most extraordinary exhibit is the Tunnel itself: from the end of Wapping Station platform you can still see the arches and colonnades of the onetime shopping arcade.
This location is open to the public
Railway Avenue, London, Greater London, England, SE16 4LF
If you are planning a visit to see a particular painting, check with the location first. Paintings can be moved at short notice