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Martin Williamson bows out as Mr Brunel

Actors dressed up.

Actor Martin Williamson is bowing out after five years as ‘Mr Brunel’ at Brunel’s ss Great Britain in Bristol.  He joined Brunel’s ss Great Britain in 2006 for the Brunel 200 bicentenary celebrations. The contract was initially for a few weeks only. He has since become a massively popular fixture in the Brunel’s ss Great Britain holiday what’s on calendar.

A typical day would include welcoming visitors to Brunel’s ss Great Britain, working the queues, posing for pictures, answering questions, doing interviews with the media, and even tidying tables in the Dockyard Café Bar.

Milestones include:

  • Becoming one of the most photographed men in the UK;
  • Appearing on radio shows, including regular stints on the BBC Radio Bristol Breakfast Show;
  • Attendance at events and shows around Bristol and the south west, including the Bristol International Kite Festival and Bristol Balloon Fiesta;
  • Representing the city at international trade fairs such as the ‘Best of Britain and Ireland’ in London;
  • The Brunel’s ss Great Britain ‘Gert Big Stink Challenge’.

Martin, 33, who lives in Bristol, is looking to develop his acting career in London and find new challenges. Recent acting work has included plays on Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward. He is also a talented artist and illustrator.

The ss Great Britain Trust’s Visitor Services and Retail Manager Keith Stanton commented: “Martin Williamson has been a brilliant Mr Brunel – equally popular with visitors, staff and volunteers. He is immensely knowledgeable about the life and work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and is able to step in and out of character. He is especially good at making visitors feel welcome, and engaging with them on the subjects of their choice, whether it is a discussion on his engineering masterpieces or chatting with children about his favourite animals and home life.”

Keith added: “We will miss Martin hugely, but wish him all the very best for the future.”

Martin Williamson commented: “Working at Brunel’s ss Great Britain for the last five years has been a truly wonderful experience. I have really enjoyed meeting so many visitors and taking on the role of ‘Mr Brunel’ – generally on one of his more charming days!

“Critics have questioned my size – at six feet in height I would have towered over Isambard. But as I explain to visitors time travel has a tendency to stretch people! I am certain that the next Mr Brunel will find the work rewarding. As tickets allow for unlimited return visits for a year, visitors can come and see me this half-term, and see whomever takes over as Mr Brunel.” 

The ss Great Britain Trust will be recruiting a new ‘Mr Brunel’ – details to be announced soon.