Brunel- An Engineer's Life

Ref: C2224460

Isambard Kingdom Brunel is certainly one of our most famous engineers but he is also a controversial figure producing outstanding designs which in some cases were to fail because they were so far ahead of his time. We look at his success and failures within the context of the times, both economic and political. We will explore the life of Brunel, his fathers influence, his early career and how he worked to make the Great Western Railway so successful but oh so different. We will also look at his ships & understand how his personality influenced his designs the other achievements of his life and how they caused him to pay the ultimate price for his work.

Course aim

The Course will review Brunel, the man and the engineer; his success and his failures.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Review Brunel’s life
  • Develop an understanding to why Brunel was so different
  • Discuss the successes and failures within his engineering life.
  • Examine the consequence of his work.
  • Review the impact of his work on our world today.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Handouts will be provided however you may find it useful to b ring a pen and a note book so that you can take notes.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Visit Brunel sites and increase your knowledge of the man and his work

Download full Course information sheet

Brunel- An Engineer's Life


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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