Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
 

 
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Contributors:
  •   Please send any comments or suggestions about America 3.0 to:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Lex's Tweets
  • Jonathan's Tweets
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • A far more important anniversary

    Posted by Helen on April 11th, 2006 (All posts by )

    April 9 was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, which required a special trip to Paddington railway station, it being the nearest surviving monument to the mans genius.

    As Richard Savill wrote in the Daily Telegraph a few days before that:

    The vision of Brunel – who by the time of his death in 1859, aged 53, had built 25 railway lines, more than 100 bridges and three ships – helped transform the West Country during the Victorian era.

    It also helped to transform Britain, as Richard Alleyne pointed out on the same day:

    Along with a handful of other industrialists he transformed the country from a traditional, rural, agrarian economy to a modern, urban, industrial one. By the time of his death, it was the industrial superpower of the world.

    A legacy to be proud of and a man, whose loss to Britain cost France dear. His father was an immigrant to Britain and himself a notable engineer. Isambard Kingdom was part educated in France but trained on his father’s projects. He was injured on one of them and spent his convalescence in Bristol, thus starting his very fruitful career in the West Country.

    Still I cant help wondering about a comment made by Andrew Kelly, the director of Brunel 200:

    Although Brunel was born 200 years ago, his influence remains with us in Britain today.

    We hope that by showcasing his huge breadth of mind, and how he excelled as an engineer, ship designer, architect, surveyor and artist, we will encourage the Brunels of the future to adopt his ‘can do’ attitude and determination to achieve.

    I appreciate the need to encourage the Brunels of the future but what makes the man think that someone born 200 years ago is of little relevance. I seem to recall that in a recent BBC poll for the greatest Englishman, Brunel came second to Sir Winston Churchill.

    Mr Kelly must realize, surely, that apologizing for the past is not the way to build the future. He could start by meditating on Edmund Burkes sayings.

    Cross-posted (mostly) from the Conservative History Journal

     

    9 Responses to “A far more important anniversary”

    1. Lex Says:

      This review of a biography of IKB is good, and the book itself sounds very good.

    2. Jim Bennett Says:

      So, once upon a time Britain seemed to be able to assimilate immigrants! If the current mob had been in power back then he would have been schooled in an all-French-language school and taught that Britain should have been ashamed of itself for Agincourt.

    3. michael Says:

      I didn’t read “Although he was born 200 years ago…” as an apology. I read it as “Most people live and die without leaving any trace they were here. This guy was different. We’re still feeling the effects of his presence even though it was a long time ago.” Perhaps you were referring to something else as an apology?

      PS You’re captcha almost blocked me – small type on a grey background will stop both spam bots and presbyotics.

    4. michael Says:

      I didn’t read “Although he was born 200 years ago…” as an apology. I read it as “Most people live and die without leaving any trace they were here. This guy was different. We’re still feeling the effects of his presence even though it was a long time ago.” Perhaps you were referring to something else as an apology?

      PS You’re captcha almost blocked me – small type on a grey background will stop both spam bots and presbyotics.

    5. Helen Says:

      Sorry Michael, I don’t understand the PS bit.

    6. michael Says:

      Helen – The captcha is the little grey security code at the bottom of the posting window. It’s designed to filter out spam bots but unfortunately, I had a devil of a time reading it the first time.

      I don’t think I’m a spam bot but then if I were, would I know?

    7. Helen Says:

      “Helen – The captcha is the little grey security code at the bottom of the posting window. It’s designed to filter out spam bots but unfortunately, I had a devil of a time reading it the first time.

      I don’t think I’m a spam bot but then if I were, would I know?”

      Help. I am sure Michael is not a spam bot.

    8. Jonathan Says:

      Michael,

      Thanks for the feedback. I will look into increasing the size of the captcha image. It may be a few days before I can do this, however.

    9. genghis Says:

      As a postscript to the wonderful world of railway engineering as promoted by the late, great Brunel; if the reader was ever to venture on to a modern train in 21st Century Britain; they would find filthy carriages, lousy maintenance, multiple breakdowns, high prices, the worst food in the country, and a stubborn determination never to keep to the published timetable!