Brunel school report reveals great expectations

It may not surprise many to learn that one of the country's greatest figures was a genius at school, but the school report of Isambard Kingdom Brunel goes even further, confirming his teachers had 'brilliant expectations for his future".

The engineer who designed iconic Bristol landmarks the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the SS Great Britain was rated highly in Maths and German, although his Latin left something to be desired.

Brunel was sent to school in Paris at the Institute M Massin when he was 14, where he won several school prizes.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge - as designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Credit: PA Images

The report is one of several artefacts set to go on public display for the first time in a new £7.1 million museum dedicated to Brunel on Bristol's harbourside next to the SS Great Britain.

Called "Being Brunel", the museum will contain more than 14,000 exhibits from the University of Bristol and about 1500 personal artefacts donated by a private collector.

The museum is expected to provide a huge boost to tourism in Bristol when it opens in 2018.

The SS Great Britain Credit: PA Images

Brunel's translated school report


  • The 1st Prize of Elementary Maths at Secondary School

  • The Prize of the Semester of the Class of Maths

  • The Prize of Elementary Maths

  • The Prize of French Language, of History, and of Geography

  • The 2nd honourable mention in Drawing, 2nd Division


  • Religious homeworks: Properly fulfilled

  • French Language: He improved

  • Latin Language: He will deal with it as much as it will be possible.

  • Analysis: Good

  • History: Good

  • Geography: Good

  • Maths: Very Good

  • Drawing: Very Good

  • German Language: Very Good, a lot of diligence

  • Health: Good

  • Behaviour Beyond reproach.

This young man gave to all his teachers the fullest satisfaction, and he provides brilliant expectations for the future.