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SS GREAT BRITAIN

SS Great Britain was a bold attempt by a British company to break the American monopoly of the trans-Atlantic passenger trade.  At the time of her launch in 1843, SS Great Britain was by far the largest ship in the world and most technically innovative ship.  She was over 100 feet longer than her rivals, and the first screw-propelled vessel to cross the Atlantic, also the first iron ship to do so.  However, her high cost had left her owners in a difficult financial position, and they were forced out of business a few years later.

On 26 July 1845, SS Great Britain undertook her maiden voyage to New York.  She covered 3,100 miles in just 14 days 21 hours.

In 1850, after five voyages to New York, SS Great Britain begin her service to Australia.  In 1852, she made her first voyage to Melbourne, Australia, carrying 630 emigrants.  During her time, she was considered the most reliable immigrant ship between Britain and Australia.

In 1854, SS Great Britain was refitted as a troopship for the Crimean War, and again in 1857 she carried reinforcements to Bombay to deal with the Indian Mutiny. 

In 1882, SS Great Britain was converted entirely to a sailing vessel for transporting coal to San Francisco and returning with wheat. After two successful voyages, in 1886 she was dismasted by a hurricane off Cape Horn.   She was retired to the Falkland Islands where she was utilized as a warehouse and coal hulk until scuttled in 1937.

In 1970, the Great Britain was returned to the Bristol dry dock where she was born.  Now listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection, SS Great Britain won the prestigious Gulbenkian Prize as UK Museum of the Year 2006, which brought with it 100,000 in prize money.  The ship also won two awards at the Museums and Heritage Awards for Excellence 2006 conference in the restoration and conservation category as well as permanent exhibition.  These Awards follow the re-launch of the Great Britain after work costing 11.3 million to transform her into a major visitor attraction and museum.   The vessel attracts 150,000-170,000 visitors annually. 

   
 


5' long.  All wooden and metal.  Plank-on-frame construction. 

                                                                                          $3,900    S&H is $220

A sister model is on permanent display at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.