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10 August 1821
A day of great rejoicing for Mark Brunel and his wife, Sophia. After being incarcerated for 88 days in the Kings Bench prison in Southwark, Mark was released leased from jail.
After 'many serious financial disasters and business failures,' he was imprisoned on the 14th May. His wife could not bear for him to suffer alone and she entered prison with him.
His release was obtained by his long time admirer and benefactor, the 'Iron Duke' .The Duke of Wellington had pleaded with parliament, saying that ' This man Brunel is a national treasure and, must never be allowed to go abroad to work for a foreign government'.
As a result of his great oratory parliament voted £5000, to pay his debts, and so secure his release.
Brunel's dream was realised at last. After sinking the shaft at Wapping, Brunel ordered his men to revert to the old method of tunnelling. The men quickly drove a 'driftway' to the shield and so secured a through passage of clean air to aid the men working at the shield face. On this day the breakthrough was made and Mark passed along the drift and through the shield into the tunnel.
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Last updated on 12/01/2001