Isambard Kingdom Brunel

I was at St James Palace in London last night for drinks and to hear an inspirational speech made by HRH The Duke of York in support of the ‘Being Brunel’ project in Bristol.

Brunel must rank as one of Britain’s most influential citizens over the last two hundred years,if not in history. Without him Bristol would not have been connected by rail with London, which increased the economic power of both cities. Bristol has always had a particular affinity with London but its influence was increased dramatically in the late 1800s when it’s MPs were able to take the train to London.

In those days the ability of MPs located in distant towns and cities, to get to the House of Parliament to vote on urgent matters, was curtailed by transport considerations, so by building one of London’s first rail links with the provinces, Brunel increased Bristols influence in matters of state.

Bristols investment in Broadband technology continues to connect the City today and attract more companies to locate in what is undoubtably one of the UKs most attractive large cities.

At St James Palace last night we were privileged to see many personal mementoes of Brunel, and meet members of Brunel’s family which in itself was an unusual experience. We also heard from two young children,a boy and a girl, who made eloquent speeches about how Brunel had inspired them to consider engineering as a career.

German engineering may be world renowned but we were fortunate to call the worlds greatest engineer one of our own! British engineering is becoming synonymous with quality and precision once again thanks in part to the influence of Brunel.

Clifton Suspension Bridge, pictured above at Christmas last year was designed by Brunel and is a world class tourist attraction which is situated alongside one of the worlds most attractive City Villages. Clifton Village is a lovely place to wonder around, with it’s mix of sweeping Georgian terraces and specialist shops and restaurants. I have been buying shoes from Steve at Instep for over 30 years and haven’t bought a bad pair yet. Buy your newspaper from Tony and Mandy at the top of The Mall and enjoy all the gossip and chat with local residents and international tourists alike. They also sell hand made chocolates which are delicious so buy some of those too!

‘Being Brunel’ is a project to raise money in support of the Brunel Museum which is located next to his greatest ship, The SS Great Britain, located on Bristol Harbourside. Another must visit part of this great maritime City.

Bristol has always been a vibrant place, but in the last 20 years we have seen it’s power and influence increase hugely,and now with an executive Mayor an established part of the fabric we are set to see it emerge as a true international powerhouse of innovation.

From the sensational Robotics laboratory at The University of West of England, to its place in 2015 as European Green City of The Year, Bristols reputation as a must visit City on the international circuit is firmly established.

George Ferguson became Bristols first executive mayor in November 2012. Whilst George might not be everyone’s cup of tea,his heart is in the right place, and he works tirelessly for the City he loves.

Leon and I often refer to “Marmite George” when we talk about Bristol. You love him or you hate him, but you cannot deny his love of his home town, or his tireless efforts to do what he believes right,even if some of Bristols citizens don’t agree! He has certainly established the office of executive mayor regardless of people’s opinion.

Whatever else happens and whoever becomes mayor next, the office of executive mayor is firmly established in Bristol that’s for sure.
Anyone wanting to know more about the Being Brunel Project should visit… or ring 0117 926 0680


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