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Virtual Archive in Five

Welcome to Virtual Archive in Five! The Brunel Institute currently remains closed, where our Curators would usually share our fascinating collection.

Instead, we'll be bringing our objects to you at home with these videos from the team!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more and check back to this page for new videos.


  • Mollie showcases a First Class menu, served on one of the SS Great Britain’s Melbourne to Liverpool voyages, 1861:


  • Nick tells us more about a letter written by Brunel. It relates to the famous story of Brunel getting a half-sovereign stuck whilst doing a magic trick in 1843:


  • Joanna shares a photograph from the 1880s, showing the SS Great Britain's crew:


  • Nick shares a letter to Brunel from a 10 year old boy. The boy advises Brunel on how he could launch his third and final ship, the Great Eastern, 1858.


Mollie shares a diary from an anonymous female passenger, 1863:


  • Nick shows us Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Screw Propeller Report, which has recently been added to the UNESCO Memory of the World UK National Register.


  • Nick shares more about a new object in the collection, a Bill of Fare from the Great Western, 1846.


  • Mollie shares Brunel's last portrait, 1859, taken ten days before he died.


  • Nicks tells us more about Brunel's intriguing locked diary.


  • Nick shows us the original bath tub that was found on the SS Great Britain when she came back to Bristol in 1970.


  • Mollie shows us a newspaper 'St Helena Advocate' in today's Virtual Archive in Five. This newspaper was put together by passengers on board the ship, on the first voyage to Australia, in 1852.


  • Nick shows us one of the earliest objects in our collection, Brunel's drawing of a horse from when he was just six years old.


  • Mollie reveals a very unusual object in the collection. A cricket ball, owned by E. M. Grace, who travelled on board along with the All-England Eleven in 1863:


  • Joanna discusses a breakwater plan for the SS Great Britian in this Archive in Five:


Check back for more!

Find out more about objects in our collection with our Collection Stories