Ps 'Great Eastern', 1858.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photograph. This famous steamship, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) for the Eastern Steam Navigation Company, was the largest vesel afloat until she was broken up in 1888. Built of iron at Millwall (London) in 1853-1858, she was 692 feet long, and had accommodation for 4000 pasengers. Limitations of contemporary technology necesitated the employment of both paddle-wheels and a screw propeller. Originally designed with the pasenger trade to Australia and the Far East in mind, the Great Eastern made her maiden voyage, acros the Atlantic, in 1860. She was not a commercial succes as a liner, but between 1865 and 1873, did valuable work laying submarine cables, including the first transatlantic telegraph link.