Rob Bell tells the story of Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Brunel: The Man Who Built Britain - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: In Development

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2017-12-08

Brunel: The Man Who Built Britain - SS Great Britain - Netflix

SS Great Britain is a museum ship and former passenger steamship, which was advanced for her time. She was the longest passenger ship in the world from 1845 to 1854. She was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the Great Western Steamship Company's transatlantic service between Bristol and New York. While other ships had been built of iron or equipped with a screw propeller, Great Britain was the first to combine these features in a large ocean-going ship. She was the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic, which she did in 1845, in the time of 14 days. The ship is 322 ft (98 m) in length and has a 3,400-ton displacement. She was powered by two inclined 2 cylinder engines of the direct-acting type, with twin 88 in (220 cm) bore, 6-foot (1.8 m) stroke cylinders. She was also provided with secondary sail power. The four decks provided accommodation for a crew of 120, plus 360 passengers who were provided with cabins, dining, and promenade saloons. When launched in 1843, Great Britain was by far the largest vessel afloat. However, her protracted construction and high cost had left her owners in a difficult financial position, and they were forced out of business in 1846 having spent all their funds re-floating the ship after she was run aground at Dundrum Bay after a navigational error. In 1852 she was sold for salvage and repaired. Great Britain carried thousands of immigrants to Australia from 1852 until converted to sail in 1881. Three years later, she was retired to the Falkland Islands where she was used as a warehouse, quarantine ship and coal hulk until scuttled in 1937. In 1970, following a cash donation by Sir Jack Hayward that paid for the vessel to be towed back to the UK, Great Britain was returned to the Bristol dry dock where she was built. Now listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, she is an award-winning visitor attraction and museum ship in Bristol Harbour, with between 150,000 and 200,000 visitors annually.

Brunel: The Man Who Built Britain - Interior - Netflix

The interior was divided into three decks, the upper two for passengers and the lower for cargo. The two passenger decks were divided into forward and aft compartments, separated by the engines and boiler amidships. In the after section of the ship, the upper passenger deck contained the after or principal saloon, 110 ft (34 m) long by 48 ft (15 m) wide, which ran from just aft of the engine room to the stern. On each side of the saloon were corridors leading to 22 individual passenger berths, arranged two deep, a total of 44 berths for the saloon as a whole. The forward part of the saloon, nearest the engine room, contained two 17-by-14-foot (5.2 m × 4.3 m) ladies' boudoirs or private sitting rooms, which could be accessed without entering the saloon from the 12 nearest passenger berths, reserved for females. The opposite end of the saloon opened onto the stern windows. Broad iron staircases at both ends of the saloon ran to the main deck above and the dining saloon below. The saloon was painted in “delicate tints”, furnished along its length with fixed chairs of oak, and supported by 12 decorated pillars. Beneath the after saloon was the main or dining saloon, 98 ft 6 in (30.02 m) long by 30 ft (9.1 m) wide, with dining tables and chairs capable of accommodating up to 360 people at one sitting. On each side of the saloon, seven corridors opened onto four berths each, for a total number of berths per side of 28, 56 altogether. The forward end of the saloon was connected to a stewards' galley, while the opposite end contained several tiers of sofas. This saloon was apparently the ship's most impressive of all the passenger spaces. Columns of white and gold, 24 in number, with “ornamental capitals of great beauty”, were arranged down its length and along the walls, while eight Arabesque pilasters, decorated with “beautifully painted” oriental flowers and birds, enhanced the aesthetic effect. The archways of the doors were “tastefully carved and gilded” and surmounted with medallion heads. Mirrors around the walls added an illusion of spaciousness, and the walls themselves were painted in a “delicate lemon-tinted hue” with highlights of blue and gold. The two forward saloons were arranged in a similar plan to the after saloons, with the upper “promenade” saloon having 36 berths per side and the lower 30, totalling 132. Further forward, separate from the passenger saloons, were the crew quarters. The overall finish of the passenger quarters was unusually restrained for its time, a probable reflection of the proprietors' diminishing capital reserves. Total cost of construction of the ship, not including £53,000 for plant and equipment to build her, was £117,000—£47,000 more than her original projected price tag of £70,000.

Brunel: The Man Who Built Britain - References - Netflix