The Reverend “Modest Marvin” Rees took the opportunity on Brunel’s birthday to compare his ‘ambition’ to that of the famous right wing 19th Century engineer with the mixed record. The following Tweet appeared on 9 April:
Just a few issues with this. Not least that Isambard Kingdom Brunel didn’t build the Thames Tunnel – “the 1st tunnel under a navigable river” – his father did. Isambard became involved as an assistant engineer and took charge for a while when his father was ill but, after Isambard nearly drowned in one of the many accidents that befell the tunnel, he was sent to a hospital in Bristol to recuperate and had no further involvement.
The project then exhausted its funds and was boarded up for seven years, becoming an object of ridicule. Eventually it was opened (as a pedestrian tunnel rather than the road tunnel it was supposed to be) in 1843, some 18 years after it was started. It wasn’t converted into a rail tunnel until the 1860s after both Brunels were dead
Meanwhile, Brunel often claimed the Box Tunnel was the longest tunnel in the world and that’s often repeated by an unquestioning press (and dumbass mayors). It WAS the longest RAILWAY tunnel in the world, but there were at least four canal tunnels in England alone that were longer. Considerably longer. The Stanedge tunnel, opened in 1811,was 4,979m vs the Box tunnel’s 2,950m in 1841.
Let’s hope the Reverend’s accuracy improves when it comes to his transport system!