Joe was appointed to the project just days before the SS Great Britain’s remarkable homecoming to her original dry dock in Bristol in July 1970. His MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1983 was recognition for his many years of service to the ship.
CEO of the SS Great Britain Trust, Matthew Tanner, said:
“I am very saddened to learn that Joe Blake, Project Director of the SS Great Britain from 1970-1986, and thereafter a trustee for many years, passed away at the grand age of 99 on 28 July 2019. His diligent work on the SS Great Britain laid the foundations for the long term restoration of Brunel’s great ship in Bristol.”
Joe Blake’s career was quite remarkable; his naval training was completed by the end of 1940 and in 1941 he was on active service as the navigating officer of a destroyer, also responsible for both communications and radar. His naval career ended in 1970 upon which he became responsible for the restoration of Brunel’s SS Great Britain, finally retiring in 1986.
Joe Blake is remembered fondly, and with great gratitude for all he gave to the Trust.