Greetings my Fellow Adventurers!
I’m going to take a quick break from Wales today for another of…
‘Maddie Templeton’s Maritime History Posts’
On this day in 1845 the SS Great Britain, then the worlds biggest ship, set sail on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to cross the Atlantic. Captained by James Hosken and carrying 45 passengers, she made the passage to her destination of New York in a very respectable 14 days and 21 hours.
At the time of her maiden voyage she was a ground breaking ship. Designed by the great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, she was the largest Iron hulled vessel afloat and the first passenger ship to utilise a propeller rather than paddles.
Commercially however, her first trip wasn’t a success. The Great Western Steamship Company paid £117,295 6 Shillings and 7 Pence to build her, hoping to gain a good profit from the sailing. But of the 360 tickets available, only the mentioned 45 were sold.
The SS Great Britain went on to have a very successful, if somewhat tumultuous working life. She had several accidents, refits, changes of configuration (even loosing her engines at one point), covered millions of miles of ocean and crossed the globe countless times. She was even abandoned in the Falkland Islands for over 30 years. It wasn’t all bad news though, thanks to the efforts of one Sir Jack Haward OBE, she was finally returned to her home port of Bristol. The day of her return coincided with the 127th anniversary of her launch, and she arrived to great applause from the thousands of spectators who turned up to witness the event.
Since 1970 she’s been painstakingly restored in her original dry-dock so that she now stands proud once again.
There was also a song written about her – here!
Until tomorrow my friends