To celebrate the life of Britain’s greatest engineer, Brunel’s SS Great Britain will be dressing their iconic site in keeping with conventions of traditional Victorian mourning.
On Sunday 15th September, exactly 160 years since Brunel’s death, visitors to Brunel’s SS Great Britain will see; Brunel’s regulator clock stopped at exactly 10.30pm to mark the time of his death, his portrait draped in black crepe (a fabric traditionally used in Victorian mourning dress), along with the covering of the mirror outside his Duke Street office, as a mark of respect.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery in London. Hundreds of private and professional friends attended the funeral and railwaymen lined the roads to pay their last respects as his family followed the coffin to its final place of rest.
Natalie Fey, Interpretation Officer at Brunel’s SS Great Britain said: “When he died, Brunel’s probate will stood at £90,000. His estate would have been greater, but the financial strain of the Great Eastern project had significantly decreased his wealth.
Interestingly in 1858, shortly before his death, Brunel had an inventory of his personal property carried out, perhaps because he was planning to raise funds by selling some of his assets. Today, this inventory is a crucial source of information used to research Brunel’s domestic and private life and was essential in the creation of the Being Brunel museum”.