• Reconstructed
  • Re-imagined
  • Rebuilt
  • Scenes
  • From History

SS Great Eastern  

was an iron built sailing / steamship designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
At the time of her launch, in 1858, she was the largest ship ever built with the capacity to carry 4000 passengers
from England to Australia without refuelling.
Brunel died shortly after her maiden voyage.

This reconstruction cuts through a central section of the ships deck in which four ‘Rocking Donkey’ steam engines can be seen.
These were used to power the two flanking, seventeen meter wide paddle-wheels.
The engines were visable to the public through a glazed roof up at deck level.
Furthur down at keel level the steam boilers can be seen, whilst luxurious lounges and cabins occupied the upper decks.
The ship boasted an additional five fully rigged masts of thirty square sails to supplement its engines and a second engine at the stern powered four seven metre wide screw propellors.
The sails however proved to be unusable at the same time that the paddles and propellors were under steam as hot exhaust fumes from the ships five funnels would set fire to them.
Every remaining nook and cranny within the ships bulk was used for coal storage.


The image has found a permanent home at the Brunel Museum “Being Brunel” in Bristol.

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