ss Great Britain

The Bluejackets All Ship

ss Great Britain

The first iron hulled ship




SS Great Britain is Launched

Jul 19, 1843

SS Great Britain is launched. She is the largest ship afloat at the time, and so big that she could not fit through the locks to get to the sea.

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Location: Britain



SS Great Britain Goes to Sea

Dec 1844

SS Great Britain finally gets out of Bristol Docks after the locks are widened to let her pass. She still got stuck on the second set of locks on her first attempt. Brunel tries again the next day after getting workmen to take the top layer of blocks off the lock, which, combined with a very high tide, allows her to finally escape Bristol for the sea. She is then towed to London for her final fitting out.

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Location: Britain



SS Great Britain's Maiden Voyage

Jul 26, 1845

SS Great Britain embarks on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York. It is discovered that she rolls heavily when she does not have her sails up, which have a steadying effect.

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Location: Britain



SS Great Britain Reaches New York

Oct 13, 1845

SS Great Britain runs aground on the Massachusetts Shoals. She is re-floated and continues to New York.

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Location: Britain



SS Great Britain Runs Ashore

Sep 22, 1846

SS Great Britain runs ashore Dundrum Bay on the north-east coast of Ireland. Measures are put in place to protect her, organised by her designer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, but even with these no other ship would have survived the winter storms. However, her iron hull is so strong that she can endure it ready to be re-floated during the next summer.

The Great Western Steamship Company suspends sailings on both of their ships: SS Great Britain and PS Great Western.

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Location: Ireland



SS Great Britain is Re-Floated

Aug 25, 1847

The SS Great Britain is re-floated and taken back to Liverpool for repairs

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Location: Ireland



SS Great Britain Goes to Australia

1852

SS Great Britain makes her first trip from Liverpool to Melbourne in Australia carrying 630 emigrants attracted by the discovery of gold in Victoria.

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Location: Britain



John Gray is the Captain of SS Great Britain

Apr 1854

John Gray is appointed Captain of SS Great Britain

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Location: Britain



Merchant Naval Ships Are Requisitioned

1856

Merchant naval ships are requisitioned as a troop ships taking soldiers to the Crimean War

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Location: Black sea



John Gray Disappears

Nov 25, 1872

John Gray disappears from the back of SS Great Britain. It is believed that he killed himself by jumping from the stern windows at around midnight.

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Location: Atlantic



SS Great Britain Ends Passenger Service

1882

The SS Great Britain ends passenger service. She has her steam engines removed and is converted to carry coal as a pure sailing ship.

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Location: Britain



SS Great Britain is Damaged

1886

The SS Great Britain is damaged is a storm off Cape Hope. She takes shelter in the Falkland Islands, but when the damage is inspected it is decided that it will not be economically viable to repair her. She is then sold on to the Falkland Islands Company to be used as a coal storage hulk.

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Location: Falkland Islands



SS Great Britain Scuttled

1937

SS Great Britain has now degraded so far that she can no longer even be used as a hulk. She is towed to Sparrow Cove near Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands and scuttled. She sits on the bottom, but her upper structure is still above the surface and is still sometime visited by Falkland Islanders.

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Location: Falkland Islands



Tug Reach SS Great Britain

Mar 25, 1970

A submersible pontoon Mulus III and the tug Varius II reach Port Stanley to recover SS Great Britain and return her to Britain

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Location: Falkland Islands



SS Great Britain on Pontoon

Apr 13, 1970

SS Great Britain is positioned on the submersible pontoon Mulus III and ready for her return to Britain

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Location: Falkland Islands



SS Great Britain Leaves Falklands

Apr 24, 1970

Varius II begins the trip from the Falklands to Britain with SS Great Britain towed behind her on Mulus III

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Location: Falkland Islands



SS Great Britain Arrives in Cardiff

Jun 22, 1970

SS Great Britain arrives at Barry Docks in Cardiff and is handed over to tugs from Bristol for the last part of her journey home.

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Location: Britain



SS Great Britain Arrives At Bristol

Aug 05, 1970

SS Great Britain is towed up the River Avon under the Clifton Suspension Bridge. She has to wait for another 2 weeks before there is a tide high enough to get her through the locks into the floating harbour before she can be returned to her birthplace.

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Location: Britain



SS Great Britain is Rusting Away

1998

It is discovered that the humidity in the dry dock is causing SS Great Britain to rust, and it is calculated that she could corrode away within 20 years. She will need an extensive system of de-humidifiers inside and outside the ship in order to prevent further decay.

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Location: Britain



Preservation Work on SS Great Britain

Jul 2005

The preservation work on SS Great Britain is completed and the ship is re-launched to visitors.

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Location: Britain