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Brunel in Context
This section provides resources linked to the specific Brunel sites in Bristol. First, the following provide general information on the history of the city, which may also be of interest. Most contain references to Brunel:

Aughton, Peter (2000) Bristol: a people’s history Carnegie Publishing: Lancaster

Brace, K (1971) Portrait of Bristol Robert Hale: London

Buchanan, Angus and Neil Cossons (1969) The Industrial Archaeology of the Bristol Region David & Charles: Newton Abbot

Buchanan, R A and Williams, M (2005) Brunel’s Bristol Bristol: Redcliffe Press

Dresser, Madge and Philip Ollerenshaw (ed) (1996) The Making of Modern Bristol Redcliffe Press: Bristol

Farr, Graham (1971) Bristol Shipbuilding in the
Nineteenth Century
Bristol Branch of the Historical Association

Greenacre, Francis (1973) The Bristol School of Artists: Francis Danby and painting in Bristol 1810-1840 City Art Gallery Bristol: Bristol

Greenacre, Francis and Sheena Stoddard (1986) The Bristol landscape: the watercolours of Samuel Jackson 1794-1869 City of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery: Bristol

Greenacre, Francis and Sheena Stoddard (1991) W J Muller 1812-1845 Friends of Bristol Art Gallery: Bristol

Hutton, S (1907) Bristol and its Famous Associations J W Arrowsmith: Bristol

Kelly, Andrew (2003) Queen Square Bristol Redcliffe Press Ltd: Bristol

Latimer, J (1883) The Annals of Bristol in the Eighteenth Century George’s: Bristol

Latimer, J (1887) The Annals of Bristol in the Nineteenth Century George’s: Bristol

Little, Bryan (1954) The City and County of Bristol: a study of Atlantic civilisation S R Publishers Ltd: Wakefield

McGrath, P (1975) The Merchant Venturers of Bristol The Society of Merchant Venturers: Bristol

Ramsey, Keith (2003) The Bristol Coal Industry Bristol Branch of the Historical Association: Bristol

Sansom, J (1997) Bristol First: city of discovery, invention and enterprise Redcliffe Press Ltd: Bristol

Stoddard, Sheena (2001) Bristol Before the Camera: the city in 1820-30 Redcliffe Press Ltd: Bristol

Thompson, D (2000) Walking Words Bristol Civic Society

The Bristol Ramblers have included a Brunel-themed walk - Brunel's Footsteps - in Bristol Backs: Discovering Bristol on Foot which can be orderd from Bristol Backs Distribution, c/o 57 Somerset Road, Knowle, Bristol, BS4 2HT. The book costs £3 (plus £1.50 for postage. Cheques should be made out to Bristol Group of the Ramblers Association).

Bristol Docks

Books on the Bristol docks include:

Benbrook, I (1989) Bristol City Docks Redcliffe Press Ltd: Bristol

King, Andy (2003) The Port of Bristol Tempus: Bristol

Lord, John and Jem Southam (1983) The Floating Harbour: a landscape history of Bristol City Docks Redcliffe Press Ltd: Bristol

McNeill, Jeremy and Wookey, Ben (1997) Bristol’s Harbourside: a guide to the city docks Redcliffe Press Ltd: Bristol

The history section of the Underfall Boatyard website at provides information on the development of the docks.

David Neale and Ross Floyd's illustrated web page on The Bristol City Docks, The Locks and Brunel's Swivel Bridge is at's%20locks.htm.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Publications on the Clifton Suspension Bridge include:

Body, Geoffrey (1976) Clifton Suspension Bridge: an illustrated history Moonraker: Bradford on Avon

Long, C J (1960 reprint) The History of the Clifton Suspension Bridge Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust: Bristol

McIlwain, John (1996) Clifton Suspension Bridge Pitkin Guides: Andover

Portman, Derek (2002) A business history of the Clifton Suspension Bridge’ Construction History 18: pp 3-20

The website of the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust is at


Books on the ss Great Western and ss Great Britain include:

Ball, Adrian and Diana Wright (1981) ss Great Britain David & Charles: Newton Abbot

Corlett, Ewan (1975) The Iron Ship Moonraker Press: Bradford on Avon

Farr, Grahame (1963) The ss Great Western Bristol Branch of the Historical Association: Bristol

Fogg, Nicholas (2003) The Voyages of the Great Britain Chatham: London

Fox, Stephen (2003) The Ocean Railway: Samuel Cunard, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and the Revolutionary World of the Great Atlantic Steamships Harper Collins: London

Gould-Adams, Richard (1976) The Return of the Great Britain Weidenfeld and Nicolson: London

Griffiths, Denis (1985) Brunel’s Great Western Patrick Stephens: Wellingborough

Griffiths, Denis et al (1999) Brunel’s Ships Chatham: London

Hamley, Dennis (1999) The Iron Ship: a tale of Brunel’s Great Britain Franklin Watts: London (suitable for KS2 history)

Young, Jean (2003) The World’s First Great Ocean Liner: a select bibliography of the ss Great Britain 1834-1970 Jean C Young: Portishead

The website of the ss Great Britain is at

Brunel in South Wales book cover

Great Western Railway

Books specifically related to the Great Western Railway include the following:

Audrey, C (1992) Brunel’s Broad Gauge Railway Haynes Publishing: Yeovil

Bourne, J C (1846) The History and Description of the Great Western Railway David Bogue

Brindle, Steven (2004) Paddington Station: its history and architecture English Heritage: Swindon. Paperback edition published April 2006. See flyer for details.

Buchanan, Angus (2006)
Brunel in Bath Holburne Museum of Art: Bath

Cattell, John and Keith Falconer (1995) Swindon: the legacy of a railway town English Heritage: London

Gren, Andre (2003) The Foundation of Brunel’s Great Western Railway Silver Link Publishing Ltd

Channon, Geoffrey (1985) Bristol and the Promotion of the Great Western Railway Bristol Branch of the Historical Association: Bristol

Gibson, C (2002) Bristol’s Merchants and the Great Western Railway Bristol Branch of the Historical Association

Harris, Michael (ed) (1985) Brunel, the GWR and Bristol Ian Allan: Weybridge

Maggs, C G (1981) Rail Centres: Bristol Ian Allan Publishing: Shepperton

Meason, George (1852) The Illustrated Guide to the Great Western Railway Reissued by Berkshire County Library, Countryside Books, 1983

Nash, Margaret (1998) Mission Underground: the making of Mr Brunel’s splendid tunnel Macdonald Young Book: London (this book is suitable for children and refers to the Box Tunnel)

Swift, Andrew (2006) Ringing Grooves of Change –Brunel and the coming of the railway to Bath Akemann Press: Bath

Williams, Archibald (1972 reprint) Brunel and after: the romance of the Great Western Railway Patrick Stephens: London

The GWR extended via various subsidiary companies and branchlines down to Penzance. One of the most significant structures is the Royal Albert Bridge crossing the Tamar. See:

Binding, John (1997) Brunel’s Royal Albert Bridge Twelvetrees Press: Truro

Visit for details about the bridge and activities planned for 2006.'

The bibliography included in the regional audit of Brunel assets includes books on the other railways that ran through the region. A Word version is available here:

Regional audit bibliography (Word file)

General books on the development of the railways include the following:

Coleman, Terry (2000 reprint) The Railway Navvies: a history of the men who made the railways Pimlico: London

Freeman, Michael (1999) Railways and the Victorian Imagination Yale University Press: New Haven

Jones, Stephen K (2005) Brunel in South Wales Vol 1: in Trevithick’s tracks Tempus Publishing: Bristol. Vol 2 Communications and Coal and Vol 3 Links with Leviathans to follow.

Lambert, Anthony J (1984) Nineteenth Century Railway History Through the Illustrated London News David & Charles: Newton Abbot

May, Trevor (2003) The Victorian Railway Worker Shire Publications: Bucks

Perkin, Harold (1971) The Age of Railway David & Charles: Newton Abbot

Richards, Jeffrey and John M MacKenzie (1986) The Railway Station: a social history Oxford University Press: Oxford

Simmons, Jack (1991) Railways: an anthology Collins: London

Simmons, Jack (1991) The Victorian Railway Thames & Hudson: London

Brunel’s Temple Meads station is now home to the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum. Visit its website at

The website of the Steam, the museum of the Great Western Railway, is at The museum is located within the historic Swindon Railway Village and Works.

The Museum of Bath at Work has material relating to Bath’s industrial heritage which was influenced by the arrival of Brunel’s GWR. The website is at

The Broad Gauge Society, which promotes research into the British broad gauge system, has its website at

The Great Western Archive website is at

Great Western Study Group, which promotes interest and research into the Great Western Railway, has its website at

Visit the GWR Presevation Group website at for details of the group's work in restoring vintage locomotives and stock.

Newton Abbot Town and Great Western Railway Museum has material on the development of Brunel’s atmospheric railway as well as Brunel’s water closet. Visit the website at

The Railway Studies Collection in Newton Abbot contains many publications related to Brunel. The website is at

There is some interesting historical information about Brunel's role in the building of the West Somerset Railway at He had the route surveyed and submitted full plans in November 1856, but did not live to see the line open in 1862. The WSR today carries nearly 200,000 passengers a year. The official website is at

Steam Back to Box is a dedicated group of steam train enthusiasts. See for details.

Other websites in Bristol and the South West:

You can take a virtual Box Tunnel experience on the website of Farmington Natural Stone company at

Bristol Record Office contains some Brunel-related material. Details of the office are at

Somerset Record Office holds a number of records related to Brunel’s work in the county. Visit

University of Bristol Brunel Collection website,
including inventories of material held is at

Further websites are listed in the South West regional audit available here:

South West regional audit (Word file)

Check both the alphabetical list in appendix 3 and the descriptions grouped by county/unitary authority in the main section.

See the website of Inner Minds of the South West for details of a new Brunel DVD produced by the Young Enterprise Company Programme.

The Brunel Legacy
Education and Learning
Events and Competitions
News and Discussion
Brunel, Bristol and the South West
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Brunel in Context
Brunel, Bristol and the South West
Other Resources