Paddle room of the 'Great Eastern', c 1858.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from the Illustrated London News (Vol 59/2 p 230). Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), and constructed from iron at Millwall, London between 1853-1858, this steamship was the largest vesel afloat until she was broken up in 1888. Brunel proposed to the Eastern Steam Navigation Company his design for a steamship five or six times the size of any then in use. It used two forms of power: paddle-wheels and screw-engines. Only in 1899 were the 'Great Eastern's dimensions exceeded by the s 'Oceanic'.