SS Great Britain: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the SS Great Britain.

  • The SS Great Britain was a 19th century passenger ship, and the first steamship to sail across the Atlantic Ocean.

  • She is moored as a museum ship in Bristol, in southwest England.
  • She was the first ship to combine screw propulsion with an iron hull.
  • The ship measured 98 metres long, almost 10 metres high and had a propeller almost 5 metres in diameter.
  • She was designed by the famous engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Brunel also designed the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, and several viaducts on the Great Western Railway.

SS Great Britain

  • The SS Great Britain first sailed from Liverpool to New York on July 26th, 1845. She made the trip in a record 15 days, averaging a speed of 17 kmh.
  • The ship was designed to carry 360 passengers in luxury, and 130 crew. The interior featured large mirrors, decorated gold columns and a dining room large enough to seat all passengers at once.
  • The SS Great Britain made several more trips across the Atlantic during the 1840s. On one trip, she ran aground on the Irish coast, and was stranded for almost a year.
  • In 1852, the SS Great Britain made her first trip to Melbourne, Australia. Thousands of people each paid a shilling to inspect her when she arrived there.
  • She sailed between England and Australia for the next 30 years. On a typical trip she would carry 600 passengers, 36 sheep, almost 100 goats and 1,000 chickens and turkeys.
  • In 1882, she was converted into a cargo ship, working around the Falkland Islands. She remained there until 1937, being used for storing coal, and as a quarantine ship.
  • During World War I she supplied coal to British ships, and in World War II, some of her iron was used for repairs to other ships.
  • In 1970 she was towed back to Bristol to become a museum.

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