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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:

Obituaries and public announcements from 1859 that focus on I.K. Brunel’s legacy and life achievements as seen through the press and his contemporaries, such as the Illustrated London News engraving from 24 September 1859, celebrating the life and works of the heroic engineer.

Free event at the Brunel Institute

Curator’s Corner:

Curators choice from the Archive Vault.

Photo courtesy of the ss Great Britain Trust

The last photograph of I.K. Brunel taken on the morning of 5 September 1859, on the top deck of his third ship the ss Great Eastern. Not long after, on the same day, Brunel suffered a stroke which resulted in his death only 10 days later, on 15 September.

This stereoscopic card, one of many in the collection, would enable the viewer to look at Brunel and the ss Great Eastern in 3D, thus making the subject almost come alive.  While stereoscopic views would be source of great fascination for Victorians, this portrait is particularly significant as not only is it one of only ten known photographs of  I.K. Brunel but also, sadly, his last.

(ss Great Britain Trust Collection)