BRUNEL, Isambard Kingdom (1806-1859). Civil Engineer.
Correspondence mainly concerning Monkwearmouth Docks, including four Autograph Letters Signed, one Letter Signed and one secretarial letter from Brunel, with 20 related letters.
Brunel was first commissioned to construct a new dock at Monkwearmouth, Sunderland, in November 1831, but his initial ambitious designs were rejected by Parliament. It was not until 1834 that another more modest scheme was authorised. The archive comprises:
Letters from I.K. Brunel:
Letter Signed to Messrs Abbeson & Abbs, 1¼ pages 4to, Parliament Street, 16 July 1835. Discussing the practicalities and costs involved at Monkwearmouth.
'... when the works are ready once more to proceed I will come down and I trust we shall be able to make such arrangements for the future progress of the work as if persevered in will in some measure redeem the credit of all concerned in this work which at present I fear cannot stand very well in public estimation.'Autograph Letter Signed to Michael Lane, 1¼ pages 4to, Duke Street, 18 December 1837. Expressing satisfaction on hearing that Lane would prefer to continue working with him on another project rather than continuing at Monkwearmouth.
'I am glad to find that you prefer continuing with me to accepting the offer that has been made to you ... I think you are certain of a better and far more agreeable engagement in this part of the country than you would be likely to have in the North. The only question is how soon you can leave the Docks.'Autograph Letter Signed to Michael Lane, 2 pages 4to, Duke Street, 29 March 1838. Expressing concern about an accident Lane has experienced.
'The account of your accident distresses me very much - I must insist upon your having the best advice that can be procured without regard to expense. ...'Secretarial letter to Michael Lane, 2½ pages 4to, no place, 2 April 1838. Referring to an accident he has also suffered, and discussing the progress of work at Monkwearmouth.
'You must wait some days before I can send you any directions as I am also laid up in bed from an accident ... on a little island near the mouth of the Thames where I was put on shore from the steam boat where the accident happened. ... you can judge best whether the experiment is quite safe. I think in all probability no mischief can arise and the extent of the evil would be better ascertained. ...'Autograph Letter Signed to Michael Lane, 1½ pages 4to, Duke Street, 13 April 1838. Informing him that he is feeling much recovered from his accident.
'In answer to your enquiries I am getting on very well - though very sore and weak from bruises I have not a broken bone about me - and but for excessive weakness this is the first attempt at writing I being very black and blue and very sore I should be quite well. I hope in a week to be able to attend to business again. ...'Autograph Letter Signed to Michael Lane, 2¼ pages 4to, no place, 12 March 1839. Summoning him to come and work on another project at Bath, and leave the Monkwearmouth Docks immediately.
'In consequence of my expecting you up I have made every arrangement for placing a work of very great importance at Bath under your management and it would leave very serious inconvenience and delay to the works if you do not come and start quickly ... I would not as I said at first think of withdrawing you for one moment if the interests of the Dock company required you to remain ...'The remaining correspondence comprises the following:
Autograph Letter Signed from Hammond to Michael Lane, 1½ pages 4to, Parliament Street, 27 July 1835, referring to a visit he and Brunel will make to the docks by steamer.
Autograph Letter Signed from Hammond to Michael Lane, 1 page 4to, no place, 20 October 1835, enquiring about different types of lime and the proportions of sand each will take.
Autograph Letter Signed from J. Vilbamit to Michael Lane, 3 pages 4to, fragment torn from front right hand corner, no place, 26 October 1835, referring to progress at the docks.
'... it will be the means of demonstrating to the Directors that Mr Brunel's judgement was correct in every respect and teach them to have more confidence in honorable men and observe more strictly the engagements they enter into. ...'
Autograph Letter Signed from Hammond to Michael Lane, 2 pages 4to, GWR Office Hanwell, 26 January 1836, requesting the return of drawing plans and books.
Autograph Letter Signed from J. Vilbamit to Michael Lane, 1 page 4to, London, 8 February 1836, informing him that he shall be abroad for 14 months.
Autograph Letter Signed from Hammond to Michael Lane, 2 pages 4to, GWR Office Hanwell, 16 February 1836, implying difficulties in progress at the docks, and assuring him that he would not influence him to leave until the work was completed.
Autograph Letter Signed Williamson to Michael Lane, 2 pages 4to, Whitburn Hall, 18 July 1840, expressing his willingness to give testimony to his work during his service at the Wearmouth Dock Company.
'... the business of the Dock is certainly increasing but not so rapidly as I should like, however I have no doubt that a fruther increase is taking place. The Gates stand well. The Breakwater I believe answers and will answer the end you expected. ...'Autograph Letter Signed Daniel Gooch to J. Bennett [Brunel's clerk], 1 page 8vo, GWR Paddington, 24 October 1840, confirming a contract and the return of some turntable drawings.
Autograph Letter Signed E. Harrison to Michael Lane, 1 page 4to, South Shields, 16 August 1841, confirming he would be willing to support him with a testimonial in his application for an engineering position.
Autograph Letter Signed Michael Lane to J. Bennett, 1 page 4to, GWR Bath, 1 September 1841, asking him to forward a letter to Mr Brunel as he wishes to go to Newcastle immediately.
Autograph Letter Signed E. Harrison to Michael Lane, 1 page 4to, South Shields, 25 September 1841, arranging to meet him at the Wearmouth Dock office.
Autograph Letter Signed Hartley to Michael Lane, 1 page 4to, Liverpool Dockyard, 22 October 1841, confirming he would be willing to support his application for the position of resident engineer at the River Tyne.
Printed testimonial to Brunel concerning a presentation plate, London, 1 September 1842, addressed to Michael Lane.
Autograph Letter Signed ?W H Huffaux to Michael Lane, 1 page 4to, Dock Office Hull, 17 November 1842, formally inviting him to join the Hull Dock Office on the 1st December as resident engineer.
Autograph Letter Signed Thompson to Michael Lane, 1 page 4to, Hull, 1 September 1845, discussing his proposals to improve ? Dock and asking him to send his estimates.
Autograph Letter Signed James Magelston to Michael Lane, 1½ pages 4to, Hull and Barnsley Junction Railway Company, 13 September 1845, offering him the position of engineer at the Hull and Barnsley Junction Railway Company.
Autograph Letter Signed John ?Sale to Michael Lane, 2 pages 4to, Hull, 26 December 1846, writing in support of his application for a position in Liverpool.
Autograph Letter Signed Thomas Earle to Michael Lane, 2 pages 4to, Hull, 29 December 1846, informing him that he had sent testimonials to the town clerk, and expressing regret that they may be too late to support his application.
Autograph Letter Signed Edward Wilson to Edmund Lane, 3 pages 8vo, Westminster, 29 February 1868, expressing condolences for the death of his father [Michael Lane].
With four envelopes addressed to Edmund Lane and an autograph note to Michael Lane, postmarked September 1841.
The image is of part of one letter only.