From The Penny Press, October 7, 1859
We have already announced the death of the distinguished engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. His father, Mark Isambard Brunel, came from the vicinity of Rouen, and his architectural achievements exist both in his native country and the United States. In 1793 fled for political reasons from France to New York, where he undertook the exploration and survey of some lands for a French land company, and in 1794 commenced the survey of the Champlain Canal. He sent in a design for the houses of Congress, and was much employed as an engineer and Architect in New York, both by the State and by private individuals. After a stay of a few years he returned to Europe, and visited England. In London, the famous Thames Tunnel remains an enduring monument of his engineering skill. The son appears to have inherited the genius of his parent. Born at Portsmouth, England, and educated at Caen, in Normandy, he early embraced his father’s profession, and when but little over twenty years of age, was resident engineer of the Thames Tunnel. Here he had several narrow escapes from drowning, from the breaking in of the water. After the tunnel was finished, Brunel planned the Great Western Railway of England, and superintended its construction. He also built the Great Western steamer, which at one time created such a sensation, though in every respect it was as far surpassed by subsequently built steamers, as they are by the builder’s last work the Great Eastern. Later, Mr. Brunel conducted the works of the Tuscan portion of the Sardinian railways, and other foreign railways, and during the Crimean war he had the entire charge of the establishment and organizing the Renkioi hospitals on the Dardanelles. He was, at the time of his death, Vice-President of the Institution of Engineers and of the Society of Art, fellow and member of the Council of the Royal Society, and member of many other learned societies. He also received the Cross of the Legion of Honor from Louis Philippe.
Source: The penny press. [volume] (Cincinnati [Ohio]), 07 Oct. 1859. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025750/1859-10-07/ed-1/seq-1/>
From The New York Herald, September 23, 1859, Morning Edition
The Trip Out of the Thames and Arrival in the Nore.
IMMENSE SUCCESS OF THE STEAMER,
THE GREAT SPEED ATTAINED.
The Voyage Across the Atlantic from Port to Port to be Made in One Week.
All John Bulldom in a Delirium of Excitement,
&c., &c., &c.
Special Correspondence the N.Y. Herald.
Great Eastern, Nore Light, Sept. 8, 1869.
Splendid Performance of the Ship – Her Great Success – Her Great Speed, &c.
The Great Eastern is a success. She left Deptford at 7:80 yesterday, and with the aid of four steamtugs worked round the sharp points of the Thames to Purfleet, below Woolwich, where she lot go a single anchor one of Trotman’s patent – and swung to her moorings as easily and gracefully as a yacht. At 8 A. M. we weighed anchor, passed Gravesend at 10:30, and at 11 cast off all the tugboats, and steamed up with nine turns of the paddle engines and thirty of the screw engines. She made thirteen knots, exceeding by nearly half a knot the estimate of her builder and engineers, which gives her at full speed nineteen knots an hour. Little doubt is now felt that she will go twenty nautical miles, and keep up long after ordinary ships would have to slow down for bad weather. In every respect the performance of the ship is most satisfactory. She steers as easily as a pilot boat, and parts the water forward as easily as a North river steamboat. Her engines – screw and paddle – work with as much regularity as if they had been at it for months. In short, the ship and machinery seem to be perfect
From The Weekly Pioneer and Democrat, September 30, 1859
From the London Times.
Nore Light, Thursday, Sept. 8.
After her first short run the Great Eastern remained at her anchor off Purfleet for the rest of the night, and slowly resumed her progress down the river at a quarter to 9 o’clock this morning. Her stoppage at Purfieet was a sad disappointment to many thousands who had been collecting at Gravesend all day in the firm belief that she could or would stop nowhere else. Her slight detention at Blackwall point, however, prevented this, and it became absolutely necessary from the state of the tide to bring up at once at Long Reach. The distinguished arrival threw Purfleet into a state of uncommon excitement. Every one within moderate reach of it by road or rail hurried to the little village till it was thronged to the water’s edge. Gravesend, also, seemed most unwilling to yield up its share in the great occasion without an effort, and before long crowded boats steered round and round the ship, the passengers cheering themselves till they were hoarse again, while the bands played “See the Conquering Hero Comes,” “Rule Britannia,’’ and ail sorts of musical welcomes. For the rest of the evening there was a constant repetition of such visits. Not a vessel passed that did not turn up hands to cheer, while many, as they came down the river, dressed in flags from stem to stern. It was not till night had fallen that the great ship was fairly left alone, and began swinging round to her anchor with the rising tide. The night was a little puffy, and seemed inclined to come more so, but the wind fell as the moon rose, and the weather eventually settled down into a dead calm, it took upwards of an hour for the tide to turn the ship fully round, and at low water, as she lay across the river for a short time in turning, she might almost be said to have stopped the navigation with her colossal bulk. During the night she swung twice again, and by daylight was lying with her head fair for the resumption of her course down the river.