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A world first

mainyard being added in preparation for Go Aloft

Visitors to Brunel’s ss Great Britain will soon be taken to new heights to experience the thrill and fear of a 19th Century crew member on board Brunel’s famous ship.


Stepping into the shoes of a Victorian sailor, those brave enough will be able to re-enact working life at sea by scaling the rigging and conquering the yardarm for a unique and exhilarating view of Bristol - over 30metres from ground level, up the mainmast.

Set to be the ultimate, immersive experience; ‘Go Aloft!’ has been designed to represent as authentically as possible what the crew members had to endure when working on board the Victorian passenger liner.

Participants will have the luxury of being strapped into a harness, briefed by a Topman on the Weather Deck, before ascending the rigging to a viewing platform at 27m above the deck.  From here, participants can traverse out along the main yard, taking them 9m out across the ship below, before returning to solid ground, safe in the knowledge that they will have experienced something that few people can anywhere else. Crew re-enactment volunteers will be on hand below to bring the experience to life for people who would prefer to keep their feet firmly on the Weather Deck.

Rhian Tritton Director of Conservation & Education for the ss Great Britain Trust said;

“In everything we do we aim to take visitors back in time and show them what the conditions on board would have been like for passengers and crew alike. It would have been opulence and luxury for the First Class passengers, but scary and pretty dangerous for the hard working crew.

“Although Go Aloft! is an accurate representation of what they would have had to do, we’re not making visitors climb the rigging in bare feet – they will be wearing a harness and sensible shoes at all times!”

The experience has been kept under wraps during planning in 2013 with an official announcement and the addition of the mainyard and the topsail yards on Tuesday 17 December and Friday 20 December.

‘Go Aloft!’ has been generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund Your Heritage programme, which helps people to learn about their own and other’s heritage. It will open to the public on Saturday 5 April 2014.

For more information, images or quotes please contact PR, Content and Social Media Manager Jess Hellens on 0117 926 0680 ext 309 or email jessh[at]ssgreatbritain.org