"SS Great Britain" SS Great Britain Tip by Gyppo
SS Great Britain, Bristol: 15 reviews and 27 photos
This museum costs £10.95 (as of February 2008), for which you are given day membership. Strangely, 'day' membership entitles you to visit the museum for one year. I disagree with some of the other tips posted here, as the museum experience is good, and I felt it was worth the money.
The SS Great Britain was an ocean liner designed by one of the most celebrated British engineers, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and launched in 1843. I believe it was the first to have an iron hull, a screw propeller and a balanced rudder, for those of you who are interested in such things!
Having completed many circuits of the world as a liner, troop ship and emigration ship, before becoming damaged by fire and taken out of service, the ship is now in dry dock in Bristol, where it is the centrepiece of the SS Great Britain Museum.
The museum has 3 sections - a cleverly designed below 'water' level, an external gallery with details of the ship's history, and the ship itself. The ship, being made of iron, was liable to corrode, so a glass sheet was built at water level, and the air below this is dehumidified to prevent the hull rusting. As a result, you can walk around the hull, which gives you a good idea of the scale of the ship. The gallery has quite a few interesting exhibits, although not all are directly related to the ship itself, with some being very tenuous indeed (eg. the Rolls Royce gas turbine engine). After this, you can walk on and below decks, to see what first and steerage class travel would have been like. Cramped, basically.
You can actually rent out the ship for events, as they have a function room on the lowest deck.
Next door to the SS GB is the Matthew, a square rigged sailing ship based on one from the 15th century. This is free to look at, or you can sometimes pay for a jaunt around the harbour. Unfortunately, this was not available when I visited.
Address: Great Western Dockyard, Bristol
Directions: It's in the harbour area on the opposite side to the town.
Phone: +00 44 (0)117 926 0680
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