Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in 1806 in the south of England. The name “Isambard” came from his father, Marc Isambard Brunel (originally from France), and the name “Kingdom” came from his mother, Sophia Kingdom.
Years later, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s unusual name would become almost synonymous with engineering: he was perhaps the most eminent Victorian engineer.
He built the Great Western Railway, the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamer (SS Great Western), and various important bridges and tunnels.
The name Isambard can be traced back to a old Germanic name Isambert, which is made up of elements meaning “iron” and “bright.” Other spellings include Isembart, Isembert, Isambart, and Isembard.
Do you like the name Isambard? Do you like it more or less than Eisenhower (which is also iron-related)?
- Gillings, Annabel. Brunel. London: Haus Publishing, 2006.
- Isambert – Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources