Nuneaton-Chester Canal Trip, 1898.
[Together with an autograph signed letter from Brunel.][Westminster: Vacher & Sons, Printers, c.1900] Stock Code: 143005
First and only edition of this rare privately printed account of the late August 1898 ten-day canal cruise from Nuneaton to Chester, the second leg of the "Way to Kendal", undertook by five friends, including eminent engineers, started in 1894 from the Thames Oxford and finished in 1899 at Kendal in Westmorland.
Each one of the men was attributed a title and assigned duties. This printed log was kept by Robert Edmund Froude, also Captain of the Fleet and Navigating Officer on this journey, the son of engineer and naval architect William Froude. The Commodore was Henry Marc Brunel, a civil engineer and the son of the celebrated engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and grandson of civil engineer Marc Isambard Brunel.
The Froude family and the Kingdom family of Brunel's mother had long been close. William Froude was already a good friend of Brunel when "in 1837 he joined the staff of Brunel, for whom he managed the last section of the Bristol to Exeter line... In 1856 Brunel persuaded Froude to undertake a study of rolling in waves. This led to his 1861 paper to the Institution of Naval Architects which provided the first correct theory of the behaviour of a ship in a seaway" (ODNB). On the death of Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1859, William Froude became an informal professional tutor to his second son, Henry, who acted as Froude's assistant in a number of projects, following "in his father's footsteps to become an engineer, and entered into partnership with Sir John Wolfe-Barry, designer of the Tower Bridge" (ODNB).
The letter, dated 28 November 1900, reads: "My dear Mr Gamble, You used to be fond of these books in olden days so I send you copies of our 1898 & 1899 logs. We have taken to printing them lately but they are not printed for publication. Yours very truly, H. M. Brunel". The 1899 log referenced here is the final leg of the journey and is titled Chester-Kendal canal trip, 1899.
A rare find, WorldCat locates only one copy (NLS), Library Hub add a further copy (Oxford).
Octavo. Original beige cloth, titles in blue to front board, red speckled edges. The letter: a single sheet (230 x 185 mm) folded in half, 2-line author's address printed in purple, and 13 autograph lines in brown ink.
Map of the itinerary, 2 diagrams in the text.
Spine darkened, lightly soiled, the binding otherwise firm, scattered foxing to first and last few leaves, else internally clean and fresh; a very good copy indeed.
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