Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, French-born English engineer and inventor, c 1820s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plaster bust of Brunel (1769-1849), French (naturalized American) engineer. After a brief spell in the French Navy, Brunel travelled to America where he lived for six years and worked as a land surveyor, an architect and later as chief engineer to the City of New York. In 1799 he left America for London where he met Henry Maudslay (1771-1831) and together they introduced the mas production of ships' blocks. He improved saw-mills and dockyard machinery at Chatham and Liverpool. From 1825, with the help of his son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), he was engaged to construct the first Thames tunnel designed for foot pasengers, completed in 1843.