Ref NoDM1306/11/1/1/folio 5-16
TitleLetter from Isambard Kingdom Brunel to the Directors of the Eastern Steam Navigation Company
DescriptionWritten from 18 Duke Street, London. The letter details Brunel's work on the Great Eastern since the Directors' meeting confirmed a plan of action. The letter emphasises the need to construct two identical vessels at the same time and to the highest design standards. The letter also explains that in order to make various calculations relating to the design and operation of the ship, Brunel has consulted many experts and introduces some of the people he will be working closely with, including John Scott Russell, Mr Smith who was involved in the development of the screw propeller, Mr Blake of the firm of James Watt & Co and Mr Fields of the firm of Maudslays and Fields, who are engine manufacturers and have consulted on the specifics of the engines. Brunel now proposes to embark on preparing detailed designs for the ship and lists some of what he considers to be the articles of faith to guide the project, including the need to get the best materials and workmanship possible. The letter details what Brunel estimates to be the likely cost breakdown between labour and materials and the potential arrangements with manufacturers, shipyard owners and others. The letter also details the need to investigate the route, the potential coaling stops along the route and other factors in order to influence the dimensions and design of the ship and suggests sending a trusted and knowledgeable person, perhaps either Captains Claxton or Ford, to India to investigate conditions there which may particularly influence the ship's draft. The last line and the signature have been inserted later due to the insertion of two additional leaves (on page of which has been hand-numbered as Folio 16a) which has cut off the last line and the signature of this letter.
There is a pencil annotation at the top of the letter giving a single-line precis of the contents.
Date21 July 1852
FormatManuscript volume
Extent12 pages













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