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Chronology of Research

Derek found his research niche when he applied his knowledge of engineering and management to the study of historical engineering projects from a business perspective. The first product of this endeavour was the unpublished book 'The Thames Tunnel - A Business Venture'. Continuing in the same research vein, Derek’s next major piece of research was another unpublished book entitled 'The Clifton Suspension Bridge - A Business Enterprise'. The published article 'A Business History of the Clifton Suspension Bridge' is based on this latter work.

Derek’s study of the Clifton Suspension Bridge led to an interest in early suspension bridges in general. He wrote an unpublished paper 'Suspension Bridges in Britain in the Early Nineteenth Century', gave a Rolt Lecture at the University of Bath on the same subject and also contributed a chapter on Suspension Bridges to a book on Engineering Disasters. More provocatively he gave a lecture to the Newcomen Society titled 'How Much Did Brunel Really Know About Suspension Bridges or Did Davies Gilbert Know Better? Clifton Suspension Bridge, 1831'.

The business histories of the Thames Tunnel and the Clifton Suspension Bridge concerned Marc Isambard Brunel (1769-1849) and his more celebrated son Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859). Far less well known is Isambard Kingdom’s second and youngest son Henry Marc Brunel (1842-1903) who was also an engineer. The final piece of research Derek completed before his death was an unpublished biography of Henry’s life called 'Henry Marc Brunel – Engineer or Bon Viveur?'. There are two variants of an article based on this book: 'Henry Marc Brunel – Civil Engineer' and 'Henry Marc Brunel - Engineer'. The former was published while it is believed that the latter was not. Some of the source material for the work on Henry Marc Brunel was provided by Geoffrey Tudor of Bude, Cornwall.

The full details of where Derek’s articles were published, and copies of his manuscripts are held, are contained in the Research Archive section of this website.

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