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Archive in Five

curator holding a sketch by Brunel

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays &

the first two Saturdays of each month 12.30pm - 1.30pm, FREE

Rare and original artefacts and diaries reveal their stories in these curator-led sessions.


Get closer to history in the Brunel Institute as maritime curators and volunteers take you on a journey of discovery with precious items from the Archive Vault.

Featuring this Month:

To celebrate the birthdays of father and son, Sir Marc Brunel and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, both of whom were born in April, Archive in Five will be revealing their meticulously kept diaries; chronicling the progress of the Thames Tunnel, which they worked on together in the 1820s.

Free event at the Brunel Institute


From the Collection:

Curators choice from the Archive Vault.

Brunel's penknife

Isambard Kingdom Brunel's personal penknife (Clive Richards Brunel Collection).

Manufactured by George Butler Co. of Sheffield (c.1840), the penknife has a horn handle and its tools include a tin opener, blade, saw, hook, spike, drill, corkscrew, metal toothpick and tweezers.

Brunel would have found this versatile tool extremely useful, especially when inspecting his Great Western Railway.