Shipshape cake for 180th anniversary

19 July 2023


19 July 2023


Crowds gathered on 19th July to mark the SS Great Britain's 180th Anniversary and to see the shipshape showstopper cake with Bake Off Star Giuseppe Dell'Anno.

On July 19th the SS Great Britain celebrated 180 years since it was launched into Bristol harbour.

Crowds gathered to mark the occasion, and former Great British Bake Off winner Giuseppe Dell’Anno cut a replica SS Great Britain cake in front of the legendary ship. The intricate cake was made by Occasion Cakes in Bristol.

Giuseppe, who is an accomplished engineer as well as a baker, said: “Engineering and baking are more similar than you’d think. They are both about accuracy, precision, and they are also both about creativity.”

“There is a lot to celebrate in this vessel – the beauty, the technical achievements and it’s just a pleasure to commemorate it.”

To honour the ship’s 180th anniversary, the SS Great Britain Trust has launched ‘Kids Go Free This Summer’, which will run from today (19th July) until the 3rd September 2023. This will enable families to enjoy Brunel’s iconic ship for a fraction of the cost this summer.

Occassion Cakes team with their SS Great Britain’s 180th anniversary cake. Photo by Adam Gasson / ss Great Britain
ss Great Britain’s 180th Anniversary event 19 July 2023. Photo by Adam Gasson / ss Great Britain
Great British Bake Off winner Giuseppe Dell’Anno. Photo by Adam Gasson / ss Great Britain

The Story of the SS Great Britain’s Launch in 1843

The Bristol launch of the SS Great Britain in 1843 caused huge excitement throughout the nation. Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, travelled on Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s new Great Western Railway from London to Bristol to attend the launch.

Bristolians welcomed him enthusiastically, and tickets for the launch were sold with the advertisement “Prince Albert – To be seen alive!”

Reports from the time vary, but one version of events claims that Mrs Miles, the wife of a local MP, was supposed to launch the ship by throwing and smashing a bottle of champagne on her bow.

As the story goes, Mrs Miles actually failed to hit the enormous ship with her champagne bottle. Prince Albert then threw a champagne bottle from his table and successfully smashed it upon the ship, showering the crowd below with glass.

For 180 years, the SS Great Britain has acted as a beacon of engineering excellence, and the ship is still playing an important role today as it inspires future generations of engineers and entrepreneurs through specialist education programmes and exciting family days out.

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