- It didn’t matter if you travelled in steerage or first class, rats were a problem faced by everybody on board the SS Great Britain.
- Passenger Allan Gilmour wrote, at the end of his diary entry for Friday 8 October 1852, about the problem of rats on board the ship: “For this some nights past several of the passengers in our cabin have been annoyed by rats which even at times have come into our beds, & tonight we were awoke by a lady screaming, who being awake saw a rat walking on the partition above her head.”
- He also wrote that the rats were “pretty numerous & are to be heard during the night running about the Mess room & making a great noise.”
- Allan wrote the diary whilst travelling to Australia on the SS Great Britain. It gives the reader an insight into what life was like for passengers on board the ship.
A Rat’s Tale, 1852
Use the links below to explore the collection
Continue The Story
Find out “A bit about Brunel’s SS Great Britain” with this factsheet.
Use your imagination and write a diary entry from the point of view of a rat on board the SS Great Britain.
Explore the journeys of the SS Great Britain and find out more about the animals on board through Global Stories
Get creative and design a trap to catch the rats on board the SS Great Britain
Read an extract from Allan Gilmour’s diary written between the 4-10 October 1852.
Discover what marine animals passengers spotted whilst travelling on SS Great Britain. We’d like to thank Lottie for her work in creating this resource as part of her placement.
Watch this short film and find out about the diaries that some passengers wrote on board the SS Great Britain.