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Statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1982)
Paddington Station, London, UK
associated engineer
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
date  1981 - 1982
era  Modern  |  category  Monument to Engineer  |  reference  TQ264813
A recent statue of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel can be found in Londonís Paddington Station, in homage to his role in developing Britain's national rail network. Brunel was a prolific railway engineer and creative problem solver in many other engineering endeavours. His short life has left a long legacy, as shown in his surviving works and the many memorials.
The Bristol & West Building Society commissioned sculptor John Doubleday (b.1947) to produce a likeness of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-59) for Paddington Station. It commemorates his role as engineer to the Great Western Railway from 1833 to 1846, as well as importance in the development of the railways generally.
The Great Western ran from London to Bristol, and Brunel designed the tunnels and bridges along its line as well as the terminus station at Paddington between Bishop's Bridge Road and Praed Street. The first train departed from Paddington on 16th January 1854.
Doubledayís Brunel is seated with casually crossed legs, perhaps waiting for a train, though not smoking his famous cigar. His hands rest on the arms of the chair, a stovepipe hat in his left hand, and he turns his head to the left looking with interest at the passing commuters. The life-size bronze is mounted on a plain square plinth with a plaque inscribed "Isambard Kingdom Brunel, 1806-1859".
In 1982, the Lord Mayor of Westminster unveiled the monument. Originally it was placed in the main concourse at the at the top of the stairs leading down to the London Underground (Tube). On the same day, a companion statue of Brunel by Doubleday was erected at Bristol. This too was commissioned by the Bristol & West Building Society and depicts Brunel standing, wearing his hat but again without his cigar.
In June 2014, the Paddington monument was repositioned more prominently, facing the Director's Balcony on Platform 1, under the clock arch, in the area between Platforms 8 and 9.
In August 2014, the stationís statues of Brunel and the Unknown Soldier were animated as part of the Talking Statues project. Actor Hugh Bonneville became the voice of Brunel, reading a monologue written by Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel.
Research: ECPK
bibliography
"Londonís Statues and Monuments" by Peter Matthews, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, 2012
www.johndoubleday.co.uk
www.londonremembers.com
www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk
www.talkingstatueslondon.co.uk
Location

Statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1982)