Extract from Mr. Brunel’s Diary, written at the close of 1835
The following is an extract from Mr. Brunel’s diary, written at the end of the year 1835:—
53 Parliament Street, December 26.
What a blank in my journal [the last entry is dated January 1834], and during the most eventful part of my life. When last I wrote in this book I was just emerging from obscurity. I had been toiling most unprofitably at numerous things, unprofitably, at least, at the moment. The railway was certainly being thought of, but still very uncertain. What a change. The railway now is in progress. I am thus engineer to the finest work in England. A handsome salary, on excellent terms with my directors, and all going smoothly. But what a fight we have had, and how near defeat, and what a ruinous defeat it would have been. It is like looking back upon a fearful pass; but we have succeeded.
And it is not this alone, but everything I have been engaged in has been successful. Clifton bridge—my first child, my darling, is actually going on: recommenced work last Monday—glorious!! [Here follows a list of the undertakings on which he was then engaged.] I think this forms a pretty list of real sound professional work, unsought for on my part, that is, given to me fairly by the respective parties—all, except the Wear Docks, resulting from the Clifton bridge, which I fought hard for, and gained only by persevering struggles…. And this at the age of twenty-nine. I really can hardly believe it, when I think of it. I am just leaving 53 Parliament Street, where I may say I have made my fortune, or, rather, the foundation of it, and I have taken 18 Duke Street.