Paddle steamer 'Great Western' on her maiden voyage to New York, 1838.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The 'Great Western' was the first steamer to be constructed specially for the Atlantic Ferry service. Built of wood at Bristol to the plans of Isambard Kindom Brunel (1806-1859) for the Great Western Steamship Company, she sailed between Bristol and New York 64 times in all between 1838 and 1846. She could accommodate up to 300 passengers and crew and was sold to the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co Ltd to run between Southampton and the West Indies in 1847. She was broken up in 1857.