Cornwall marks the extreme south-western extent of Brunel's kingdom and the county is surprisingly rich in his works. The Royal Albert Bridge, which crosses the River Tamar, connected the broad gauge network with the Cornwall and West Cornwall railways - both engineered by Brunel - to take the trains coming from Paddington all the way to Penzance via a series of over sixty spectacular timber viaducts. The original viaducts have gone now, either modified or replaced over the years, but in many cases the masonry piers remain like rows of monolithic sentinels. As a result there is much to reward the Brunel hunter, including the branch line to Falmouth and many surviving examples of his railway stations. There are other connections, literally. His Great Eastern steamship was the first vessel to successfully lay a telegraphic cable to connect Europe and the USA - a story told at the historic Porthcurno Telegraph Museum near Land's End.
John Christopher, an acknowledged expert on Brunel, takes us on a tour of Cornwall, exploring his works in the county. This is the latest in a series of books which are about rediscovering Brunel's works in your area.
John Christopher has written and edited a number of books on Engineering, Military History and Railway and Road Transport, specializing in the life and works of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and being the series editor for Amberley's Bradshaw's Guides series. He has also appeared in Michael Portillo's Great British Railway Journeys television series. In between writing books, he is a balloon pilot and Land Rover fan. He lives in Gloucestershire.