Happy birthday, Isambard!

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One of Britain’s greatest heroes was born in Portsmouth 210 years ago today.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who became one of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution, was born in Britain Street, Portsea.

His distinctive name came from a parental combination - he was the son of the son of French civil engineer Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, who was working at Portsmouth Dockyard, and of Sophia Kingdom.

‘Isambard’ is a Norman name of Germanic origin, meaning ‘iron-bright’.

It was a fitting name for the man whose achivements included building dockyards, the Great Western Railway, a series of steamships including SS Great Britain and many iconic bridges and tunnels.