Brunel the Geologist (Geology Section)
Sat. 22 October 2022 at 10:30 am
A talk by Section Chair, Dr Richard Porter.
I. K. Brunel F.G.S.
In conclusion, I must observe that no man can be more sensible than I am of the great advantage it would be to a civil engineer to be better acquainted with geology, as well as with many other branches of science, that I have endeavoured to inform myself on the subject, and that I have not altogether thrown away the many opportunities afforded me in my professional pursuits.
The above is a quote by Brunel in an extract from a letter to an eminent geologist who doubted the safety of Box tunnel, written about a year after the opening of the tunnel in 1841.
This brush with ‘an eminent geologist’ attracted the attention of the public when in it was reported in The Times. Who was this ‘Eminent Geologist? And what was Brunel’s relationship with him?
Recent research has revealed that Brunel who is famous for his civil engineering achievements was much more of a geologist than was previously realised. This fascinating insight into another side of Brunel’s talents is a story of coincidences and discoveries with far more connections to the County of Devon and Geology that were previously thought.