Plaster cast bust of Brunel, by Edward Wyon 1861.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born at Portsea, Portsmouth, on 9 April 1806, the third child and first son of Sir Marc Isambard Brunel (1769–1849), civil engineer. He worked as apprentice to his father who was then working to construct the first tunnel under the River Thames in London, from Rotherhithe to Wapping. Brunel designed Clifton Bridge, Bristol and advised the Bristol Docks Company on improvements to the condition of the Bristol City docks.
In 1833 he was appointed Engineer to the Great Western Railway (GWR).