SS Great Britain

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Kyle Johnstone

The SS Great Britain; designed by the genius Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the largest ship in the world when launched in 1843, and the first propeller-driven iron ship to go to sea. Designed specifically for the North Atlantic luxury passenger trade, this was short-lived as she soon ran aground. She then had a long life as an immigrant ship on the Australian run, and later as a freighter.

She is on display and under restoration in the very same dock that she was born in, in Bristol, England.

see my photos at

One unusual and amazing part of her restoration and public tours, is that the public will soon be able to tour her hull under the water line, to walk about the propeller and rudder. The unusual part is that the SS Great Britain in dry dock will be surrounded with plexiglass topped with a foot or so of water to give the impression that the ship is floating, as you can see in a couple of photos.

For more info:

Good set of pics, Kyle, thanks for the link. For anybody visiting the UK and wanting to see sites relating to ocean liner history, the GB at Bristol is a must. But it's not as well known, even here, as it should be.

Going slightly off-topic, it's worth getting over to Portsmouth also to see the restored HMS Warrior, Britain's first iron-hulled warship and the pride of the Royal Navy at about the same time that the SS Great Britain was showing the way ahead for merchant shipping. Check out the 'virtual tour' here (top left of page):

Mike Bull

I've not been to see her since her innards were but a decked shell, but GB is a great day out, and the 'floating' plan seems to be a work of genius on both the conservation and the display fronts; once she's fully 'afloat' again, I must get down there and have a look-see.
Those pictures are so upsetting. Has anyone heard of the SS Great Britain? it was built by Isambard Kingdom Briunel in the 1800's and was the first ship to cross the Atlantic with a propeller.Any way, she was kind of scrapped in the 1920's or '30's in the Falklands and used as a store ship, then no-one wanted her and they pierced the stern-below the waterline and she rested on the bottom, but the water was only about 5ft deep! anyway, in the 1970's they returned her to Bristol where she was built (Near to where i live!) and when she returned, she looked like the olympic did in picture 4. No masts or funnels and then, unlike Olympic, she was put in dry dock and has been restored to her former glory and his a floating museum of herself. Olympic should have been that but, these things happen!

I have visited the SS Great Britain museum and you people should too!! It even has a bit about Titanic and how her sinking affected the lifeboats on the SS Great Britain.

Take her to sea Mr Murdoch-lets stretch her legs

[Moderator's Note: This message, originally posted in a separate topic, has been moved to this pre-existing thread addressing the same subject and the link in the first sentence has been added. MAB]
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