Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

ABC of Chippenham: Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Thanks to the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Chippenham is a railway town. He decided that his Great Western Railway line from London to Bristol - nicknamed 'Brunel's billiard table' at the time because the line is relatively flat compared to others in the UK - would be routed through the town and was also based here for a while whilst it was being built. When you visit many of our towns and cities, places of heritage are often marked with a blue plaque like the one above. The temporary presence of one of our greatest Britons ever was deemed to be of significance by the Civic Society.

The plaque is placed on a small building to the side of the railway station. This was Brunel's office which he used whilst supervising the works in Chippenham and the surrounding area. He left quite a mark on the town in 1841, but you'll have to wait until a later letter to see exactly what that was...

This is for ABC Wednesday and is the ninth in my themed round of posts about Chippenham.


  1. interesting bit of history
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  2. I always enjoy these history posts.

  3. Thanks didn't know that. I can just remember when Swindon was a railway town.

  4. I'm a big fan of Brunel - and the fabulous Clifton Suspension Bridge of course. I like the idea of him personally supervising the project, moving his office as the line progressed.

  5. mr. & mrs. brunel certainly saddled their son with an impressive name!

  6. Very interesting.

    Invent and Create is my ABC, please come and see.

  7. Chippenham was honoured to have been selected by Brunel:-)

  8. Interesting to know, I often take the train from Ashford to the cost I didn't know this story.
    ABC Team

  9. After your ABC post on the history centre, I went there today with Jane. What a great place. And some interesting lectures too; we almost got quite excited!

  10. I love opening a post and learning something. Thank you!

  11. ROG, Berowne and chubskulit - glad you enjoyed it

    Hermes - me too. It's rather weird there nowadays isn't it? By that I mean going round a shopping centre where engines were once built

    Janet - I was really surprised that the link I chose had no mention of the suspension bridge at all. I've been underneath it by train - a steam train :)

    Petoskystone - he had to live up to it really didn't he?

    jabblog - I hadn't thought of it that way before

    Gattina - that's a different railway. I wonder what it's story is?

    Mark - it's a fab place isn't it? Like you I thought the talks looked good too

    Misfit in Paradise - welcome and you'll have to wait!

    Meryl - welcome and you're welcome ;)

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