Isambard Kingdom Brunel was not the only person who had an important role to play in the design and construction of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Here are some more historic figures your class might like to find out more about.
Sir John Hawkshaw (1811 – 1891)
John Hawkshaw played a major part in the development of the extensive rail network covering the north of England. His ventures also included the Circle Line of the London Underground Railway, the Severn Rail Tunnel (the longest railway tunnel of its time in the world) and a scheme to build a tunnel under the English Channel. He was at the forefront of this profession, ranking as Chief Engineer for Manchester and Leeds Railway, Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, and the Severn Tunnel. In 1856 he began completion of the Holyhead Breakwater, a one and half mile coastal barrier, which remains the longest in the United Kingdom. In 1861 he became the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers and in 1863 he was deemed the ‘Saviour’ of the Suez Canal. In 1873 Hawkshaw was knighted for his engineering achievements.
William Henry Barlow (1812 – 1902)
William Henry Barlow studied engineering at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich under his father, Professor Peter Barlow. He worked for the Royal Navy and London Docks and then moved to Turkey where he spent six years building a munitions factory. In 1838 he took a job as Assistant Engineer on the Manchester and Birmingham Railway, rising to become Resident Engineer in charge of the rapidly expanding Midland Railway. In 1849 he developed and patented a design for railway track which did not need sleepers, reducing the cost of track maintenance. ‘Barlow rail’ was widely adopted but ultimately unpopular. Barlow designed the spectacular cast iron station canopy at St Pancras, which spans 73 metres (240 feet) without support: the widest of its kind in the world at the time. In 1879 he became President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, pioneering the use of steel in railway structures – particularly influencing the Forth Railway Bridge, the first major structure in Britain to be constructed of steel.
William Vick (1707 – 1754)
The wine merchant who left money in his will to fund a bridge across the Avon Gorge.
Marc Brunel (1769 – 1849)
A respected engineer. Inventor of the production line and father to Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Sophia Kingdom (1775 – 1854)
Survivor of the French Revolution and mother to Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Thomas Telford (1757 – 1834)
An internationally acclaimed and self-taught British engineer, often referred to as ‘the Builder of Britain’ and the ‘Father of Civil Engineering’.
George Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer (1758 – 1834)
The First Lord of the Admiralty, Fellow of the Royal Society and Knight of the Garter. Friend to both Marc and Isambard Kingdom Brunel and ancestor of Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales.
Davies Gilbert (1767 – 1839)
An English mathematician and theorist, founder of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall, judge of the second competition to design a bridge across the Avon Gorge.
Thomas Guppy (1797 – 1882)
Successful merchant turned engineer, a friend and confidant to Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Instrumental is setting up the Great Western Railway and a partner in the development of the Great Western Steamship Company.
Captain Christopher Claxton (1789 – 1868)
Naval captain and first Managing Director of the Great Western Steamship Company and Secretary to the Clifton Suspension Bridge Company. Harbourmaster at Bristol Docks.