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SS Great Britain

The SS Great Britain in dry dock in Bristol, 2003.
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The SS Great Britain was the first ocean-going ship to have an iron hull[?], the first ocean-going ship to have a screw propeller, and when launched in 1843 was the largest vessel afloat.

She was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Thomas Guppy[?], Christopher Claxton[?] and William Patterson[?] for the Great Western Steamship Company[?] and built in a specially adapted dry dock at Bristol. Originally intended as an Atlantic steamer, she made most of her working voyages from Britain to Australia. She was also used as a troop ship during the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny. In 1882 she was turned into a sailing ship to transport bulk coal, but after a fire on board in 1886 she was found to be damaged beyond repair. She was sold to the Falkland Islands Company[?] and used as a storage hulk[?] until the 1930s, when she was scuttled and abandoned. In 1970 she was refloated on a pontoon[?] and towed back to Bristol, where she was returned to the (then-disused) dry dock in which she was built, for conservation as a museum ship.

As of 2003, reconstruction is underway and there are guided tours for visitors wearing hard hats[?].


  • Length: 322ft (98.15m)
  • Beam (width): 50ft 6in (15.39m)
  • Height (main deck to keel): 32ft 6in (9.91m)
  • Weight unladen: 1930 long tons (2161 short tons, 1961 tonnes)
  • Displacement: 3018 long tons (3380 short tons, 3066 tonnes)


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