Isambard Kingdom Brunel (; 9 April 1806 – 15 September 1859) was a British civil engineer who is considered "one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history", "one of the 19th-century engineering giants", and "one of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution, [who] changed the face of the English landscape with his groundbreaking designs and ingenious constructions". Brunel built dockyards, the Great Western Railway (GWR), a series of steamships including the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship, and numerous important bridges and tunnels. His designs revolutionised public transport and modern engineering.
Though Brunel's projects were not always successful, they often contained innovative solutions to long-standing engineering problems. During his career, Brunel achieved many engineering firsts, including assisting in the building of the first tunnel under a navigable river and the development of SS Great Britain, the first propeller-driven, ocean-going, iron ship, which, when launched in 1843, was the largest ship ever built.
On the GWR, Brunel set standards for a well-built railway, using careful surveys to minimise gradients and curves. This necessitated expensive construction techniques, new bridges, new viaducts, and the two-mile (3.2 km) long Box Tunnel. One controversial feature was the wide gauge, a "broad gauge" of 7 ft 1⁄4 in (2,140 mm), instead of what was later to be known as "standard gauge" of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm). He astonished Britain by proposing to extend the GWR westward to North America by building steam-powered, iron-hulled ships. He designed and built three ships that revolutionised naval engineering: the SS Great Western (1838), the SS Great Britain (1843), and the SS Great Eastern (1859).
In 2002, Brunel was placed second in a BBC public poll to determine the "100 Greatest Britons". In 2006, the bicentenary of his birth, a major programme of events celebrated his life and work under the name Brunel 200.
The Magic Roundabout in Swindon, England, is a ring junction constructed in 1972 consisting of five mini-roundabouts arranged in a circle around a sixth, central circle. Located near the County Ground, home of Swindon Town F.C., its name comes from the popular children's television series The Magic Roundabout. In 2009 it was voted the fourth scariest junction in Britain.
The Salisbury cathedral clock is a large iron-framed tower clock without a dial, in Salisbury Cathedral, England. Supposedly dating from about 1386, it is a well-preserved example of the earliest type of mechanical clock, called verge and foliot clocks, and is said to be the oldest working clock in the world, although similar claims are made for other clocks. Previously in a bell-tower which was demolished in 1790, the clock was restored to working condition in 1956 and is on display in the North nave aisle of the cathedral, close to the West front.
- "Salisbury cathedral clock" | 2016-10-21 | 57 Upvotes 22 Comments
On 22 July 1966 Walter "Taffy" Holden, an engineer in command of No. 33 Maintenance Unit RAF with limited experience flying small single-engine trainer aircraft, inadvertently engaged the afterburner of a Mach 2.0-capable English Electric Lightning during ground testing. Unable to disengage the afterburner, Holden ran down the runway, narrowly missing a crossing fuel bowser and a de Havilland Comet taking off, before taking off himself. Flying without a helmet or canopy, the ejection seat disabled, and the landing gear locked down, Holden aborted his first two landing attempts. He landed on his third approach, striking the runway with the aircraft's tail as he adopted in his flare the attitude of a taildragger aircraft. The aircraft returned to service, and was subsequently acquired by the Imperial War Museum Duxford.
- "Holden's Lightning Flight" | 2021-06-14 | 144 Upvotes 27 Comments