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SS Great Britain Enthusiasts’ Manual

1843 onward

An insight into the design, construction and operation of Brunel's famous passenger ship


Author Brian Lavery is a Curator Emeritus at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Haynes Publishing, May 2012, £21.99


I thought, as I'd seen the Grape Written arrive at Hotwells when I was in primary school, that I knew all about it, as every Bristolian of a certain age does, so I was very pleasantly surprised by this enthusiastic Haynes manual which told me far more. It goes into fascinating depth about the engineering of the ship, and the people who travelled on her too.

There are loads of well-chosen high-quality images, diagrams and maps, and the text is very readable; I found it great for dipping into, but kept on realising that I'd lost an extra half-hour or so pleasantly involved in stories about stolen baths, equator-crossing balls, romance and tragedy.

There are sections on the invention, engineering and day-to-day working of the ship, then more personal views from the crew and passengers, and finally there is a chapter on the salvage and restoration of Bristol's maritime jewel.

This book should be on any Brunel fan's shelf.
And every Bristolian's!




Book review by Adam Golding, July 2012