- This is the ship’s bell from Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s first ship the SS Great Western. The ship was designed to “extend” the Great Western Railway, linking London with New York, via Bristol.
- Made from bronze, the bell is engraved with “Great Western Steamship, 1837.”, the year the ship was launched in Bristol Harbour.
- The bell would have been rung to indicate the time on board the ship. Unfortunately, it no longer makes a sound as the clapper was removed at an unknown point in the past.
- The SS Great Western was a paddle steamer made from wood and powered by a steam engine driving two paddlewheels, one on each side of the hull.
- She was the first steamship built for the Atlantic Ocean and could make the journey from Bristol to New York in as little as 13 days. Traditional sailing ships took 4 or 5 weeks to make the same journey!
Bell from the SS Great Western, 1837
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Find out ‘A Bit about Brunel’ with this Fact Sheet (download and print)
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Play the Full Steam Ahead educational computer game (play online or download apple/android app)