Brunel Institute partnership announced
Press release issued: 24 November 2010
Ambitious plans to promote the national Brunel heritage have come to fruition in a partnership between the University of Bristol and the ss Great Britain Trust.
The Trust has built and established the new Brunel Institute alongside the ss Great Britain. The Institute includes the David MacGregor Library, conservation and teaching rooms, as well as a fully equipped modern lecture theatre and the Archive Vault.
A comprehensive collection of material relating to the lives and work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, his father Marc Isambard and son Henry Marc will come together at the Institute, which officially opens at the ss Great Britain next week [Monday 29 November].
The new National Brunel Archive will be held in a state-of-the-art vault. The archive will consist of material from the University of Bristol’s Brunel Collection, currently housed in the University Library’s Special Collections, along with the Brunel material owned by the ss Great Britain Trust and the papers of the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust.
The National Brunel Archive provides insights into Britain’s engineering heritage of unparalleled breadth and depth. Diaries, letters, notebooks and sketches open up a dynasty of genius in action and reflection while developing solutions to the engineering challenges of Britain’s greatest age. It was founded by a public-spirited gift to the University from Brunel’s granddaughter, Lady Celia Noble in 1950.
The ss Great Britain collections focus more on the maritime side of Brunel’s career, including his famous Treatise on the adoption of screw propellers for the new fangled steamships.
Open five days per week, there will be no charge for admission to the Brunel Institute. Members of the general public, as well as academics, postgraduate and undergraduate students will be able to access the collection, though identification will be required.
The partnership agreement between the University and the ss Great Britain Trust also paves the way for co-operation in research and education projects and support for educational, academic and professional studies; provision of the highest national standards of care and public access for the Archive; and use of the Brunel Institute’s Viridor Theatre, the David Macgregor Library and the Archive by the University for tuition purposes.
Professor David Clarke, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol said: “We are delighted to be in partnership with the ss Great Britain Trust in this exciting venture. The Brunel Institute marks a new chapter in the life of the Brunel Collection, which has been under the expert care of the University since 1950. We are also excited by the wealth of new research and teaching opportunities the Institute will provide, not only for our students and staff but for the people of Bristol and beyond.”
Director and Chief Executive Officer of the ss Great Britain Trust, Matthew Tanner MBE, said: “The creation of the Brunel Institute at the ss Great Britain is an important landmark for the Trust. It also heralds the start of an innovative partnership between the ss Great Britain Trust and the University of Bristol, which will enable research and education projects and access to some of the world’s most important Brunel artefacts.
“The ss Great Britain Trust is indebted to all at the University of Bristol and the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust who have shared its vision and supported the Brunel Institute and its objectives, which will encourage many more people from all walks of life to learn from and continue to be inspired by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
“The Brunel Institute , home of the National Brunel Archive when it officially opens later this autumn, will serve the needs of academics, students, Brunel enthusiasts, as well as the general public. We hope that the Brunel Institute will also help to inspire young engineers and scientists to emulate – in our opinion – Britain’s greatest engineer.”