"A wonderful historic vessel (1)." Bristol Travelogue by planxty

Bristol Travel Guide: 736 reviews and 1,662 photos

Fine place for a camera.

I hope you have come upon this travelogue by way of my tip about the SS Great Britain on my Bristol pages. If not, I would ask you to have a look at it here.

I do not propose to rehash the history of the vessel here, I offer this travelogue as a means of displaying some of the very amateur photos that I took on what was a fairly dismal day and not great for photography. I will offer the odd explanatory note ut I should warn the reader that, being almost alone on here on a midweek winter afternoon, I did get a little "arty" on the camera front. Well, arty might be one word for it, no doubt you will form your own view.

the first image is a fairly standard view of the stern of this magnificent vessel, beautifull restored. Imagine the weeping quayside relatives watching loved ones disappear to a new life in America or Australia in the 19th century with this as the last view as the horizon stole them away.

I propose to take you through my visit to the SS Great Britain as I did it, which may be a little haphazard but I hope you will excuse me.

At the entrance to the attraction are these barrels which serve as a reminder to an import that was hugely important to Bristol. Do you remember Harvey's Bristol Cream sherry? In my home (neither of my parents were drinkers - don't know where I got it from) there was always a bottle of that, which never seemed to see the light of day between Christmasses. It was, however, an important product in Bristol's history and rightly represented here.

It is a sad but inevitable fact that this wonderful vessel will never again take to the seas. Although there is little sense of scale here you can take my word that some of the holes are absolutely huge.

I mentioned in my tip on the vessel that it now sits with the hull surrounded by a perspex "sea" giving the impression it is floating. Apart from the aesthetics of this, it enables conservators to keep the very fragile hull in a climatically controlled environment, hopefully preventing further corrosion.

The view shown is that up through the "sea" and is pleasant because of the slight distortion / refraction. I would love to try and recreate this shot on a bright day.

A longer view will give a better idea of how the supported enclosure works.

This is a better indication of the problem. I could easily have put both fists through this hole.

Moving round to the stern, we come upon the rudder and propellor. OK, you may say, it is a rudder and a propellor, what is the big deal? Well, the prop was neve initially envisaged as the craft was initially envisaged as a paddle steamer but it is the rudder that is of greater engineering interest. the engineer, the legendary I.K. Brunel had designed a "balanced" rudder, the forerunner of that use to this day on ships and which enabled the crew to manoeuvre much more easily. Just another innovation from the great man, although I should point out that the example here is merely a replica.

This seems like a natural lace to take a break now, and we will move inside in "A wonderful historic vessel (2)." I do invite you to join me.

  • Page Updated Mar 18, 2011
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