In 1864 a newspaper reported that the ship passed 212 icebergs in the space of just three or four days. One of the passengers, Mr. Horne, reported to the newspaper that ‘a very heavy sea was running, and the wind blew almost a gale, with snow-squalls every few minutes, and clouds as black as night.’ Captain Gray himself and three of his officers remained on watch throughout that time. Four more men were put on look-out duty to ensure the ship’s safe passage through the icefield.
When the ship was launched in 1843, she was the largest ship in the world and a technological wonder. But in the vast expanse of the Pacific and set against towering waves, storms and huge icebergs, the ship must have appeared terrifyingly small and exposed to her passengers.
Iron Island is open until the 3 October, so you can witness the SS Great Britain amongst the icebergs once more!
Author: Joanna Mathers