Illustrations of world’s first TBM acquired by museum

14 March 2018

Great Britain – The “most beautiful Brunel collection ever to enter the public domain” has been purchased at auction for the Brunel Museum in London. The designs show in great detail the miners and bricklayers working in the world's first TBM.

A spokesperson for the museum added, “The drawings reveal how Marc Brunel progressed from the gathering of knowledge and experience to confident experimentation with an entirely new construction technique that changed the course of civil engineering.”

The TBM was used to construct the 400m-long Thames Tunnel, the first tunnel dug under a navigable river, which advanced in 100mm strokes. The drawings also include tunnel cross-sections and a perilous barge expedition to investigate a collapse.

Robert Hulse, Director of The Brunel Museum, said: “A hundred and ninety years ago, here in the Thames Tunnel, we half drowned Isambard Kingdom Brunel. But we also launched him. Today Brunel’s drawing pad is our launch pad and we announce a major building programme to build a new gallery and a new museum for these beautiful drawings. We are now fundraising GBP 4.5M (USD 6.3M) to finance construction.”