The SS Great Britain - Why Call The Restaurant Brunel’s?

The SS Great Britain - Why Call The Restaurant Brunel’s?

20 October 2015 by Matthew Grainger

One of the questions we get asked the most is the above one - what’s the relevance of Newcastle County Down to the father of modern engineering? We chose the maritime theme of our restaurant because of a local story that happened some 160 years ago, just down the road on the beaches of Murlough.

History has it that when she was launched in 1843, the Isambard Kingdom Brunel-designed passenger steamship the SS Great Britain, was the largest ship in the world. She was also the first screw-proplled ocean-going iron hulled steam ship on the seas - a truly revolutionary vessel and a fore-runner of all modern engineering -  the jewel in the young Brunel’s design portfolio thus far. Designed initially for the emerging trans-Atlantic luxury passenger trade, the ship carried 252 first and second class passengers and 130 crew. The SS Great Britain typified the great engineers’ innovative approach to engineering, and she also marked the birth of international passenger travel and blossoming world communications.

The story has it however, that, on one of her earlier voyages, in September 1846, the Great Britain was on her way from Liverpool to New York, when difficulties struck. The combination of very bad weather, poor charts, and an inexperienced captain, meant that she grounded on Tyrella Beach, where she lay for a year, unable to be refloated.

A mistake had been made that cost the ship dearly, and she on one side for thefts part of the next 12 months, with various attempts to get her back on the water failing miserably. 

One of the questions we get asked the most is the above one - what’s the relevance of Newcastle County

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