'The Diving Bell used at the Thames Tunnel after the Irruption of Water', 1827.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by George Cooke after an original drawing by Clarkson Stansfield. Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, engineer and inventor, was at the forefront of civil engineering during the Industrial Revolution. His most remarkable undertaking was the Thames Tunnel from Rotherhithe to Wapping. Construction began in 1825, but was not completed until 1843, partly due to the workings being totally flooded in 1828, causing the project to be abandoned for several years. Flooding frequently hampered the project, including an inundation which occurred on 18 May 1827. A diving bell is seen being used to lower people to the river bed to inspect the damage. 50,000 people walked through the tunnel on the day it opened. Today it is part of the London Underground.