Brunel's ship on three postage stamps
The ss Great Britain was a revolutionary ship and is a unique survivor from Victorian times. The ship remains a monument to the boldness of 19th century technical and commercial design and her launch was the turning point in the development of ships and international transport. She combined a host of unique features, which had a seminal influence on virtually all modern ships.
Originally conceived as a paddle steamer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel quickly recognized the advantages that the new technology of screw propulsion could give and converted the ship and her engines to power an iron propeller.
The ss Great Britain was not only the largest ship afloat, the ship was also constructed of wrought iron and was to be the first ocean going screw-propelled ship. Brunel's ship was launched at Bristol on 19th July 1843 in the presence of Prince Albert, who gallantly tossed a spare bottle of champagne against her side when the official bottle missed the bow.
Transatlantic luxury passenger ship
Designed initially for the transatlantic luxury passenger trade, she could carry 252 first and second class passengers and 130 crew. However, her career as a luxury passenger liner was cut short when she ran aground on the sands of Dundrum Bay in Ireland in 1846. Although not badly damaged, her engines were ruined and the expense of re-floating her drained the financial resources of her owners.
Gibbs Bright and Co
Under new owners Gibbs Bright and Co, the ship prospered and her reputation was reestablished. It was the height of the Australian gold rush and the company took full advantage of the increase in emigration to that country by rebuilding the ship for use as an emigrant carrier, circumnavigating the globe. The internal accommodation was rebuilt to accommodate 750 passengers in three classes and the ship had a radically different external appearance, sitting lower in the water with a much larger superstructure and twin funnels.
Over the next 24 years and 32 voyages she was a frequent sight in Australian waters, as well as making stops in Cape Town, St Helena and New York. The ship averaged 60 days out and 60 days home, an extremely fast time for the 19th century and carried more than 15,000 emigrants.
Stamps in detail
Stamp Issue: Falkland Islands, 19 May 2006
Designer: Andrew Robinson
Print: Stochastic by Joh Enschedé Security Print
Perforation 14 per 2cms
Stamp size: 31.9 x 48mm
More information Postage Stamps
Stamps Falkland Islands
Postage Stamps 2006
Black-crowned Night Heron
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