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SS Great Britain Trip

Sunday Lunch 28th October 2012

For our first Sunday Lunch of the Winter programme, Laurence & Jane had the idea of combining it with a visit to the SS Great Britain in Bristol. So, with the benefit of an extra hour in bed, 14 MG’s gathered at the Gordano Services at J19 of the M5 on a rather dull Sunday morning.

 

We set off in convoy to cover the 7 miles down to the dockside, travelling over another of Brunel’s masterpieces, the Clifton Suspension Bridge. On arrival at the Museum, we met David & Liz, who had travelled there direct, and all managed to park in the cobbled area outside the Museum. We attracted quite a bit of attention as we lined up 15 MG’s outside.

 

Who brought the Christmas Pudding?

 

 

After purchasing our admission tickets and meeting Brunel, we had about 1½ hours to view the ship from the outside and go back in time walking through the museum. The ship sits in the original dock it was built in and floated out from back in 1843. The hull of the ship is protected by being kept in a dry environment created by special de-humidifying equipment that keeps the air at 20% relative humidity. This is achieved by sealing the hull to the dockside with a special glass plate or ‘sea’ that gives the impression of walking under the sea when you inspect the hull of the ship.

 

 

 

The museum takes you back in time from 1970, when the ship was salvaged & returned to Bristol to 1843, when she was launched.
We then assembled in the First Class Dining Room and met Bob our Steward, who took us to the Saloon for our lunch. There we had a choice of Devon Pie, Chicken & Leek Pie or Broccoli & Stilton, served with a green salad, coleslaw & freshly baked bread. Brian, our Chairman, did a sterling job as waiter on our table and even managed to give everyone equal portions. Obviously Teresa has trained him well!

 

 

 

After lunch Bob gave us an interesting talk about the history of the ship, how it is being conserved, their education programme and how the trust hopes to attract the Engineers of the future. He then gave us a guided tour of the ship, where we saw the variety of cabins, the galley, the first class dining & promenade areas, the engine and, as a contrast, the bow section kept in its original salvaged state. At various points around the ship, there were scenic depictions of life on board including some all too realistic smells!

 

 

 

With the tour over it was time to go back and visit other parts of the ship, spend some money in the souvenir shop or visit the adjacent café.

Judging by the comments, everybody had enjoyed a Sunday Lunch with a difference.

 

 

Some of the realistic characters on board!

 

 

 

 

 

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