Success is getting what you want; happiness is liking what you get

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Brunel of Bristol

SS Great Britain

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (like Thomas Telford of aqueduct fame) is an engineering hero in Robin's eyes. So of course we had to travel to Bristol to see two of his famous achievements. The SS Great Britain is being conserved in the Great Western Dockyard. A huge dehumidification plant circulates warm dried air all around the hull to protect the damaged metal from further corrosion. The Great Western Steam Ship Co financed the building of the SS Great Britain and Consulting Engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel persuaded the company to adopt and fund his innovative design ideas. The ship was launched in 1843 and was powered by both sail and steam using a propeller.

The ship was salvaged from the Falkland Islands and returned the 8000 miles 127 years later to the same dry dock where she was built. Resplendent in a sparkling paint job, she is fitted out as in one of the earlier roles, as a passenger ship taking emigrants out to Australia. While the first class passengers had a luxurious voyage, steerage class coped with 60 days or more of very cramped conditions. She is a grand old lady indeed and a very interesting floating museum.
Brunel's world famous Clifton Suspension Bridge is the symbol of Bristol but was not completed till 5 years after his death. We took the obligatory photos then walked across the bridge. Pedestrians cross for free but cars pay a toll of 50p. Our trip to Bristol gave us two items to cross off our sightseeing list.
Clifton suspension Bridge
We finished our day with that most British of meals - a curry and a pint! At 5 pounds each at the local pub it was a good deal.

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