The University of Bristol Brunel Collection
The Collection is on long-term deposit in the Institute, and comprises over 8,000 individual items. It is the most important collection of Brunel-related material in the world, and includes letters, sketch books, large-scale plans, diaries, calculation books, drawings and drawing instruments.
Search the collection Online
The 7,300 plans all come from the collection of David MacGregor. Most have been digitised and digital copies are available to purchase. Please download the inventory below, and click here to buy.
Download the Ship Plan Inventory
Here you can purchase unique items that feature images from the SS Great Britain’s Museum Collection, as well as copies of original sketches and drawings from the University of Bristol Brunel Collection.
Library Books and the David MacGregor Library
The David MacGregor Library contains over 6,500 books. Most of these belonged to the maritime historian David MacGregor. The other significant personal collection held in the Library is that of Sir Robert Wall. These two collections are supplemented by books from the SS Great Britain Trust’s collection.
The many rare volumes include an almost complete run of Lloyd’s Register of Shipping.
Diaries and Letters
There are nearly one hundred diaries and letters written by passengers who travelled on the SS Great Britain. Their descriptions give a fascinating insight into life on board from the food and entertainment to the behaviour of fellow passengers!
Most of the diaries and letters are available to view but a small number are extremely fragile and therefore not always accessible.
Photographs and Postcards
The Institute houses around 30,000 photographs and photographic postcards. They cover 19th and 20th century merchant shipping, and include a number of important images such as those supplied by the Nautical Photo Agency.
Photograph albums cover international subjects such as the Suez Canal, as well as personal albums of family holidays.