s 'Great Britain' with Austin's airbags, c 1846.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving drawn and printed by Westbury & Simmons, London, showing the 'Great Britain' fitted with airbags patented by Edward Austin. This method of raising the ship was proposed after she ran ashore in September 1846. The 'Great Britain' was the first screw-propelled iron vesel to cros the Atlantic. She was completed in Bristol in 1845 to the plans of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) and provided accommodation for about 360 pasengers. The Great Britain's seagoing life ended in the Falkland Islands in 1886. In 1970 she was brought back to the dock in which she was built, for preservation.