The SS Great Britain in its drydock alongside the Floating Harbour, viewed from Cabot Tower on Brandon Hill.
The Great Britain was the first iron-hulled steamship and was designed by ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL,
the most famous and influential British civil engineer of the 19th century. Built in the same Bristol drydock which
is now its permanent home, it was launched in 1843. BRUNEL also designed the Clifton Suspension Bridge which
spans the Avon gorge, although lack of money meant that it was not completed until 1864, five years after his death.
He was also responsible for the development of the Great Western Railway and designed the Royal Albert Bridge
across the River Tamar at Saltash as well as the 2-mile-long tunnel at Box in Somerset, which was by far the longest
tunnel of any kind to have been built up to that time. BRUNEL died of a stroke in 1859 caused by the stress of
launching his colossal steamship the Great Eastern.