Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s legacy in London continues. His first ever project opened recently as the capital’s latest cultural attraction with the transformation of his Grade II listed shaft into the Grand Entrance Hall; a performance space, 190 years after construction began.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was an English mechanical and civil engineer who is considered one of the 19th century engineering giants and one of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution, changed the face of the English landscape with his groundbreaking designs and ingenious constructions. He has built dockyards, the Great Western Railway, steamships and numerous important bridges and tunnels. His designs revolutionized public transport and modern engineering.
The Grand Entrance Hall (or ‘sinking’) shaft is now accessible to the public as a new freestanding, cantilevered staircase has been completed, designed by architects Tate Harmer. The project is part of the Brunel Museum’s plans to widen public awareness of the built legacy of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and our industrial heritage. The architects have also created a new doorway into the shaft.
Robert Hulse, Director of the Brunel Museum said: “Brunel was a daring engineer and organised the world’s first underwater concert right here in Rotherhithe. Museums should be places to be inspired and places for celebration and performance”.

Images: Jack Hobhouse and Brunel Museum