Pulling into Bristol Temple Meads yesterday, I found myself musing on the curious fact that Isambard Kingdom Brunel, having retired from a career of large-scale innovative engineering projects, devoted the remainder of his life to using his prodigious talents to Fight Crime. A Victorian amalgam of Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne and Jeff Tracy, he built a subterranean base inside the Box Hill Tunnel, a site later co-opted as the Central Government War Headquarters on the basis of IKB's groundwork. From this troglodytic fastness Brunel stood ready to emerge, whenever the call came, at the levers of a Giant Mole, Auto-Lasso, Smog Belcher, or whatever other steampunk behemoth the exigency of the hour demanded. Nor should we forget that, on a more domestic scale, his famous stove-pipe hat concealed a real stove, providing power to the numerous devices in his Utility Fob.
Alas for Brunel, he kept his scheme so secret, and lived in an age of such impeccable public order, that his services were never required. But isn't it time his story was told?
The secret entrance to Brunel's hideout, cleverly concealed on the "purloined letter" principle