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24 September 2014

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You are in: Gloucestershire > History > History Features > Hidden Brunel – Gloucestershire

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Hidden Brunel – Gloucestershire

Follow in the great man’s footsteps with our guide to Hidden Brunel around the county of Gloucestershire.

Almost everywhere you go in the west of England, you can find evidence of the work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.  There are huge iconic structures like the Clifton Suspension Bridge, revolutionary designs such as the magnificent SS Great Britain and then there are the railway lines that he considered to be his finest achievements, but if you look a little harder, there’s all sorts of Hidden Brunel relics to be found.

As part of the BBC’s coverage of Brunel’s 200th anniversary, Points West’s Amanda Parr and Dr Mark Horton from the University of Bristol went on a whistle-stop tour of the West to find some of the great man’s lesser known creations.  Here are details of the places they found in Gloucestershire – and of some of your favourite Hidden Brunel sites. 

See how many you can spot while you’re out and about… and if you know of any other places that should be on the list then get in touch!

Cirencester Station

Most people know Brunel built Paddington and Temple Meads stations, but Cirencester is one of his too!  Peter Grace told us “The original building had a glass roof above the tracks which was removed in 1874”.

Mickleton Tunnel

This single line railway tunnel is still in use today and was the site of the last ever pitched battle between two private armies on UK soil. Just outside the village of Mickleton, you can see the tunnel from a public footpath.  Brunel had contracted a builder named Marchant to construct the tunnel, but failed to pay him.  When the debt hit £34,000 Marchant’s men downed tools and refused to work.

Brunel gathered a private army of supporters to try and oust Marchant and take control of the tunnel. It took three days, but eventually General Brunel got his tunnel back and the matter of the unpaid bills went to arbitration.

Chepstow Rail Bridge

“Most photogenic” says Ian Johnson of Brunel’s railway bridge that took trains over the River Wye on the Gloucestershire border. Another example of Brunel’s elegant mixture of design and engineering.

Which pieces of Hidden Brunel do you know of? Send us an e-mail and we’ll add your suggestions to the list:

last updated: 03/04/2008 at 14:18
created: 10/04/2006

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