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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
Isambard Kingdom Brunel's final resting place in London.
Location: Kensal Green Cemetary, Kensal Green
Description: This is the family grave of king of the engineers Sir Marc Isambard Brunel (1806-1859). He began his remarkable career as a designer and builder of bridges, and subsequently becoming chief engineer of the Great Western Railway, for which he constructed a series of innovative bridges, tunnels and viaducts.
His three masterpieces are however his steamships; the 'Great Western' (1838) the first steamship on regular Atlantic service, which made the crossing in 15 days; the 'Great Britain', the first propellor screw vessel; and the 'Great Eastern' (1858), largest of all but never a commercial success.
Its construction and launch were marked by a many problems (including fatalities) and the resulting stress caused a stroke from which Brunel eventually died (as had his father over the stress of the Thames Tunnel).
In early 2011 it was announced that the cemetary may be disturbed by a new high speed rail line being planned between London and Birmingham, and many listed Brunel as one of those who would 'turn in his grave'.