The French Revolution had many dramatic effects and one unguarded remark by this particular Frenchman quickly turned him into an emigre that greatly benefitted first the US and then the UK. His inventive genius and engaging personality elevated him to the very top of English society from where, with exemplary business ineptitude, he plummeted into debtors prison. Mistreated and highly regarded, his influential friends bailed him out and with his spirit intact he not only invented modern shield tunnelling but put it into effect in a project that changed the world, The Thames Tunnel. He started a dynasty of Engineers: himself; Isambard Kingdom and Henry Marc - all Brunels. It is not much appreciated that he and IK were an extraordinary father and son team and there was a “Brunel in petticoats” too.
Bryn Bird is an engineers and Chairman of Trustees at the Brunel Museum, a long standing member of the Institution of Structural Engineers History Group and a Past President of the British (now International) Masonry Society. He grew up in South Staffordshire helping his father construct pig pens. Building intuitively left much not understood so he resolved to find out how to build properly. After a degree at Queen Mary College, London and a period in South America he worked with contractors on roads and bridges and then consulting engineers, Harris and Sutherland. Leaving at the same time as Alan Baxter he worked with Alan in the startup years before founding Whitby and Bird with Mark Whitby. Since 1998 he has been property developing, inventing and enjoying being an engineer. Notable projects include Cascades on the Isle of Dogs, and the glass bridge at the Science Museum.
The talk will take place in the tunnel shaft of the Brunel Museum.
Refreshments by the Midnight Apothecary.