Great post on the engineering achievements of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

M E Foley's Anglo-American Experience Blog

The opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics each featured, near the beginning, a guy with a cigar reciting from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.  A lot of viewers would have recognized Winston Churchill in the closing ceremony, whether from war movies, history class, or documentaries; he was  Prime Minister of the UK during the second world war.  But the cigar-chewer in the opening ceremony was someone non-Brits aren’t likely to have run across.  Some people thought it was Charles Dickens and some went for Abraham Lincoln, but in fact the actor was playing Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

As that probably doesn’t tell you much, I’m here to answer the question “Who was Brunel?”, which is the easy part.   “Why were these guys quoting Shakespeare?” is harder.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel was a 19th-century engineer who designed and built bridges, tunnels, viaducts, railway lines, and ships in an era in which that kind…

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