Book cover image: Arpingstone (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tower.bridge.7.basculecloseup.london.arp.jpg), size and alignment by Elisa Vernazza, https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/legalcode

19C ARCHITECTURE AND CIVIL ENGINEERING

My book Building Passions is about architecture and civil engineering in Victorian Britain.

The context for the story of the Brunels and Barrys is the Georgian and Regency classical styles of architecture - this  predominated in Britain before Queen Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Charles Barry both came to the front just before Victoria's reign began by winning, respectively, competitions in 1829 to design the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol and Travellers Club in London. They both went on to do great things which you can read about in the book.

Isambard and Charles were members of the Commission for the Great Exhibition of 1851 led by the Royal Consort Prince Albert. This group produced the ground-breaking, huge steel and glass structure of the Crystal Palace designed by Joseph Paxton.

By the end of Victoria's long life in 1901, the built environment in Britain and abroad had changed considerably, a distinct 'modernist' movement having taken off in global cities and fuelled by innovations in the use of new construction materials such as steel and reinforced concrete.

There is a separate website dedicated to Sir John Wolfe Barry which covers some key aspects of the book, particularly on the business partnership between Sir John Wolfe Barry and Henry Marc Brunel, and their story of building Tower Bridge.