SS Great Britain to get over £700,000 for urgent repairs





South West to receive a £9 million boost for museums, libraries and cultural venues



The SS Great Britain is one of Bristol’s most famous and popular visitor attractions. (Image: mattbuck)

Bristol tourist attraction the SS Great Britain is to get a funding boost of over £700,000 for urgent repairs. The cash injection was announced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as part a £60 million funding boost across the UK.


The cash will fund work on the weather deck, the primary access point for visitors. The SS Great Britain said in a statement on social media: “The SS Great Britain Trust is extremely grateful to the DCMS and Arts Council England for essential funding towards replacing the weather deck.


“The vital work will help conserve the world’s first great ocean liner which the charitable trust cares for on behalf of the nation, protecting the interior ironwork. It will improve accessibility, particularly for mobility and sight impaired visitors and communities, as the Trust continues its conservation, STEM education and community engagement programmes.”


Phil Gibby, South West area director for the Arts Council said: “It’s fantastic to see so many of our treasured regional museums and local library services announced as recipients in this latest round of Cultural Investment funding from the government.


“At the Arts Council, we believe in the power of creative and cultural experiences and we are passionate about more people having access to a range of excellent arts, culture and creativity right on their doorstep – so we’re delighted that these museums, libraries and venues are helping us to make that happen.”


When the SS Great Britain was launched in 1843, she was called ‘the greatest experiment since the creation’. She was fitted with a 1000HP steam engine, the most powerful at that time to be used at sea and instead of paddle-wheel, she had a screw propeller. This was cutting edge maritime technology and the combination of the two changed the shipping industry.


In 1886, the ship was badly damaged during a wild storm off Cape Horn and was forced to seek shelter in the Falkland Islands, the first port of refuge. The cost of repairs was exorbitant and the vessel was sold to the Falklands Island Company.


After a long working life, the ship’s working life ended in 1933. She was abandoned and left to rust, but in 1970 was refloated by an expert salvage team and brought back to Bristol on a huge floating pontoon pulled by tugs.