Though not the Titanic, the SS Great Britain was also touched by disaster during her many voyages.
This story was made at a two and a half day digital storytelling workshop with a Brunel theme, for architects, engineers, photographers and anyone interested in the legacy of Brunel and his impact on the city of Bristol.
The workshop was led by Liz Milner, and took place at Watershed during March 2006 and was supported by Bristol’s Museums, Galleries & Archives.
[sound of rippling water]
It’s a lesser-known fact that the SS Great Britain is haunted. You won’t read it on the tea towels in the gift shop or hear it from the staff when they describe the wedding facilities, all gilt and glamour. But the fact remains that you can’t cover as many oceans as this ship has without losing the odd passenger. Liverpool to Melbourne, New York, San Francisco, a total of 47 voyages and all these tales are stored in her steel and timber.
To appreciate the great ship’s more eerie qualities you have to pick your moment. Choose a bleak winter’s day when the wind is whistling through the rigging and the light is fading fast. Imagine the sights and sound of the dock, barrels filled with provisions being hauled on the decks. Enough food needs to be stowed to feed the passengers for a couple of months and some of the provisions were even able to walk on board – fresh food was always a challenge.
It was on the journey to Melbourne that one passenger met his fate: George had joined the ship in Liverpool, with a handful of luggage. He’d chosen first class accommodation, as he liked the finer things in life, and the menu had looked tempting when he’d bought the ticket.
They’d been afloat for about a month when George developed stomach pains. He went up on deck to take in the fresh air but finally retreated to his bunk, and all to no avail. Food poisoning had got the better of George and he never reached Melbourne and, to this day, his ghost can still be found searching for the source of his demise.
All media not otherwise credited created by the story author, or permission obtained, used under copyright licence.