Tonight my wife and myself are in the city of Bristol in SW England.
Bristol has a population of 467,000. The city straddles the River Avon (there are many River Avons in Britain) and can point to a prosperous maritime history. The Harbourside is home to a museum which explores local and industrial heritage with special emphasis on the SS Great Britain.The harbour's 19th century warehouses now contain restaurants, shops and cultural institutions.
Due to limited time availability I hotfooted it to the Harbourside where in a dry dock is the famous vessel SS Great Britain.
The vessel was designed by hyper active engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) who designed and built ships, entire railways, tunnels and bridges.
When launched in 1837 the SS Great Britain was the biggest ship in the world. Unusually, Brunel dispensed with paddle wheels in favour of a propeller. In addition to new technology the interior featured luxury fittings modelled on those of fashionable London hotels.
During the vessel's long and eventful life at sea, the Great Britain sailed a million miles and carried some 20,000 passengers to the other side of the world.
The vessel's working life ended in 1933 and in 1937 it was scuttled in Sparrow Cove, Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. However, in 1970 was refloated and returned to Bristol where extensive restoration was undertaken.
The vessel now provides and excellent insight into maritime construction and design of the early industrial period.
In addition to the ship itself this post incorporates images of Bristol's attractive harbouside district.
By timely coincidence, my tour of the Great Britain benefited by a sail past of a replica of the The Matthew This was a caravel sailed by John Cabot in 1497 from Bristol to Newfoundland in North America..