|R324||160 Years Since the Launch of the SS Great Eastern Railway Cover||£15.00||Sold Out|
Issue Date: 31/01/2018
Issue Name: 160 Years Since the Launch of the SS Great Eastern Railway Cover
Producer: Buckingham Covers
Launched in January 1858 the SS Great Eastern was the largest iron sailing steam ship built at the time. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, SS Great Eastern is considered a great example of Victorian engineering. Our lovely railway cover celebrates the 160th anniversary of the launch and features a 1st class Machin stamp and our '160 Years since the launch of SS Great Eastern' London E14 postmark, and has been doubled with a picture label featuring Brunel and the SS Great Eastern along with a special cachet.
160th Anniversary of the Launch of SS Great Eastern
The SS Great Eastern was launched on 31 January 1858. She was the largest iron sailing steam ship built at the time and is considered a great example of pioneering Victorian engineering. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the SS Great Eastern was originally called the Leviathan and could carry up to 4,000 passengers from England to Australia without the need to stop and refuel. She was the first ship to have a double-skinned hull and could reach a maximum speed of 13 knots. A combination of single screw and paddle wheels, with auxiliary sail power meant that the ship would be quite economical for its size.
The directors of the Eastern Steam Navigation Company approved the plans in July 1852. Work began in 1854 at Scott Russell’s shipbuilding yard on the River Thames. Unfortunately, in 1856 it was discovered that Scott Russell had become bankrupt. A launch date of 3 November 1857 was agreed which unfortunately failed as the equipment used was not strong enough to move the ship. After her successful sideways launch in 1858, she was bought by the ‘Great Ship Company’ from the now bankrupt Eastern Company. The SS Great Eastern set off on her maiden voyage to Weymouth in September 1859. As she sailed out into the English Channel, there was a huge explosion which blew apart the forward deck and threw the first funnel into the air. The accident had been caused by a closed feedwater heater’s steam exhaust, with the loss of five lives and injuring many others.
From 1860 to 1863, the SS Great Eastern made three transatlantic voyages and was used to transport troops in 1861. Further transatlantic trips were made with one particular trip marred by an accident as the ship arrived in New York where it hit a rock which opened up a large hole in the outer hull. Daniel Gooch, Thomas Brassey and John Pender set up the Great Eastern Steamship Company and bought the Great Eastern in 1864. She was chartered to the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company and was used to help to lay two new transatlantic telegraph cables in 1865 and continued laying cables until 1878. Subsequently, the SS Great Eastern was refitted as an ocean liner again but with limited success, she was then transformed into a floating palace concert hall. She was sold at auction and then scrapped in 1888 with her top mast being purchased to be used as a flagpole at Anfield.
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