With passengers, crew and livestock living and working in the same space for up to 60 days at a time during the voyages to Australia, it would have been a particularly pungent place.
Life in Steerage class could be pretty rough and regular washing/bathing was not a common habit, so when wandering around the Steerage berths today you may get a whiff of some stale, dirty linen which may make your nose wrinkle but, maybe not as much as the scent of urine floating down from the communal toilet cubicles located in the middle deck of the ship – EEW!
Making your way up to first class does not improve the smells very much either, upon entering the Ladies Boudoir you will come across our poor stewardess Annie Green who has found that sea travel doesn’t agree with her very much, venture too far into her cabin you will experience an overwhelming stench of vomit…so don’t hang around for too long.
Do not fear however, there are also some wonderfully delightful smells on board too. Particularly within the ship’s galley (kitchen). Why not go and see what the cook is making, the smell of bacon lingers near the galley range (industrial cooker) where the pots and pans bubble away and next door the smell of freshly baked bread escapes from the bread ovens…mmm yum!
There are over 12 different scents for you to find on board…so what are you waiting for…come and discover the sights, sounds and smells of Brunel’s SS Great Britain.
From 17 May, every corner of the Victorian dockyard, two museums, dry dock and historic ship will be open to explore, so head on down. Book tickets here.
Author: Natalie Fey, Interpretation Manager