Whereabouts of stern flag pole from Mauretania


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Lucy Burkhill

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Mar 31, 2006
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Hi all,
Earlier today I was in conversation with a man who told me that the stern flag pole from the Mauretania had ended up outside Liverpool Football Club's stadium, Anfield. Now I had heard that a flag pole from a famous ship was installed outside this soccer stadium, but I had been lead to believe that the ship was the Great Eastern, which I once read had been broken up in the River Mersey (anyone please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). In about 2002 on UK TV (BBC1?) there was a series called Great Britons in which viewers could vote for the person they considered to have been the "Greatest Briton". One of the candidates was the legendary engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel (he got second place, by the way), and the programme dedicated to him naturally featured the Great Eastern. The presenter stood in front of a pole outside the aforementioned venue, and proclaimed it came from Brunel's famous ship. Could anyone out there please help me with this one? Was it in fact from the Mauretania or is it just another of those urban myths I keep hearing about the whereabouts of items from her.

Many thanks,

Regards,

Lucy
 

Peter Newall

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Aug 19, 2006
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Hello Lucy,
It was from the Great Eastern and was erected at the Kop end of Anfield in 1906. I wrote an article for Fairplay last year about a section of her funnel which had been used as a strainer in a Weymouth waterworks - this is now in the Bristol Maritime Heritage Centre alongside Brunel’s other famous ship Great Britain, the first screw-driven transatlantic liner.

best wishes,
Peter
 

Lucy Burkhill

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Mar 31, 2006
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Many thanks, Peter!

So it was actually one of the Great Eastern's masts that ended up outside Anfield? Interesting bit about a section of one of her funnels that ended up being pressed into completely different usage in a waterworks!
 

Peter Newall

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Aug 19, 2006
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Hello Lucy,
It is such an interesting story, I thought I would post part of it.
Peter
Her construction on the Thames was a logistical nightmare and two days before she was due to sail for Holyhead, Brunel paid his final visit to the great ship, which had caused him so much grief. After posing next to one of the funnels for a photograph, he suffered a stroke and had to be rushed home. He died ten days later, aged only 53. On September 9, 1859 Great Eastern was off Hastings when there was an enormous explosion in one of her boiler rooms which blew off her forward funnel. Six crewmen were killed in the accident and without a port big enough to berth the giant vessel, she anchored in the shelter of Weymouth Bay, Dorset for repairs. There she remained for a month during which time thousands of visitors paid half-crown a head to see this wonder of the age. Meanwhile, five of the crew who perished in the explosion where buried in Melcombe Regis whilst one of the undamaged sections of the forward funnel was bought by the recently-established Weymouth Waterworks Company for its new pumping station at Sutton Poyntz, a charming village nestling in the chalk downs above Weymouth. The springhead provides millions of litres daily for Weymouth and the seven-foot wide and five-foot high funnel portion was installed in the main reservoir in 1860 as a strainer. There it remained as the last surviving piece of ironwork from Great Eastern until the closure of the reservoir in 2003. When it was lifted after its 143-years submersion, the condition of the iron was found to be in excellent shape. At the end of 2004, this unique object was given by Wessex Water to the ss Great Britain Trust and is now a major attraction in the Maritime Heritage Centre alongside Brunel’s other famous ship Great Britain, the first screw-driven transatlantic liner.
 
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