Ok...I admit it.
I have a "thing" for ships.
So I was excited when Andy suggested that he hire a private guide to take us to see the SS Great Britain.
The SS Great Britain was the first screw propeller steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. In 1845, she crossed the ocean in a record-breaking 14 days, and established the first reliably-timed transatlantic passenger service.
She was designed by a Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the same genius engineer who built the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the first major British railway (the Great Western).
I won't bore those of you who aren't interested, but if you want to learn more about Brunel, you can start here, and here.
The SS Great Britain was retired in 1884 to the Falkland Islands, and was scuttled there in 1937. In 1970, the SS Great Britain Project was organized to refloat and restore this priceless maritime treasure. After a two month transatlantic crossing on a pontoon, she arrived home to Bristol, and berthed in the drydock where she was built. The amazing process of her conservation was begun and continued until just a few years ago.
Today, she is a marvel.
It was almost too difficult to choose which photos to share here. I took more than 250. But I managed to give a taste of this magnificent great ship in just over 30. But it really doesn't do her justice.
Our guide with our group.
In order to preserve her corroding hull, a glass ceiling was built around the ship and drydock. Below, the hull is kept a desert-like 20% humidity.
Part of the equipment used to dehumidify the air around the hull.
The caisson that keeps her drydock...dry.
The ultra-modern screw propeller.
Below deck is just as beautifully restored.
Not first class.
DEFINITELY not first class.
Oh, enough. Just go see her yourself.
You will be glad you did.