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This television programme is a self contained biography of one of the greatest genius of the British railway age. Though Brunel is referred to in the correspondence text, the programme is intended be the main reference for the course to Brunel's unique career. In it he is treated as an example of the type of individual genius who made the earliest history of the railways so exciting and the railways themselves possible. It examines in still s and location film the main triumphs of his career from the Thames tunnel (the longest underwater tunnel of its tine), through the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the construction of the Great Western Railway between London and Bristol to his final masterpiece, the huge ocean-going ship, the Great Eastern which was really the forerunner of the great ocean-going liners of today. The programme is written and presented by Christopher Harvie, Lecturer in History, and further technical information is provided by L.T.C. Rolt, Brunel's biographer, in a series of to-camera statements.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A100, Humanities: a foundation course
Item code: A100; 29
First transmission date: 15-08-1971
Published: 1971
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:23:36
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Producer: Edward Hayward
Contributors: Chris Harvie; L. T. C Rolt
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Architecture; Brunel; Industrial archaeology; Railways
Footage description: Harvie gives biographical background of Brunel's early life. Shots of Brunel in middle age and some of the events in Brunel's life Battle of Waterloo - sheep grazing with tilt up to an industrial landscape - portrait of young Brunel. Shots of the Rotherhithe Tunnel under construction. Harvie and Rolt discuss Brunel's design for a bridge over the Clifton Gorge at Bristol. Shots of the bridge today with close ups of details. Harvie discusses the city of Bristol during the period 1750-1830 and its competition with the port of Liverpool as a background to Brunel's next project - the design and construction of the London to Bristol Railway. Shots of the port of Bristol in the early 19th century. Rolt tells how Brunel went about building the railway and discuss some of the problems he encountered. The use of broad gauge track is used as an example. Shots of a Western Region train c.1890. Shot of Brunel's notebook with drawings. Shot of engineering features of the railway. Shot of Pangbourne Station. Shot of Box Tunnel with workman cliff outside. Aerial shot of Bath. Various other shots of tracks, stations tunnels, locomotives, etc. Rolt discusses Brunel's design of a locomotive for the railway. Shot of the Vulcan locomotive. There were problems with the design and the North Star locomotive was purchased. Shot of North Star locomotive. Brunel's approach to track laying is taken up by Rolt. He discusses the problems that arose. Progress of construction of the great Western Railway examined with the aid of a map. The architectural features of stations, bridges, tunnel fronts etc, discussed. Various shots of these features, particularly of Templemeads Station, Bristol. C. Harvie examines Brunei's turn to steamship design and construction for the Atlantic run. Rolt examines Brunel's approach to steamship design. He discusses the design and construction of the steamships Great Western and Great Britain. Shots of these ships as well as one of the steam packet Sirius. Harvie discusses the same topic. Rolt and Harvie discuss the drawbacks of Brunel's broadgauge railway - and why it declined. Shot of Saltash Bridge near Plymouth with train going over. Harvie tells of the great increase of emigration to Australia in the 1850s as a background to the shipbuilding boom of the time Brunel built the Great Eastern as a result. Shots of the Great Eastern during construction and launching. Harvie gives the history of the ship. Harvie gives Brunel's views on improved education for his locomotive drivers. Quote from Brunel's obituary as it appeared in the Morning Chronicle, Sept. 9th 1859.
Master spool number: 6LT/10054
Production number: 00520_1330
Videofinder number: 2440
Available to public: no