Page last modified: September 20, 2003

Great Eastern

View Great Eastern Collectibles
Details:
Great Eastern
planned and built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel
693 feet long (Length exceeded in 1899 by 704 foot White Star Line Oceanic)
Beam 120 feet
22,500 tons displacement (displacement exceeded in 1906 by Cunard Lusitania)
6,500 sq. yards of sail - 10 Boilers - 15,000 tons of coal capacity
Designed to carry 4,000 Passengers!
Another link with interesting information: The Great Eastern Salvage Company.
Here are photos of a Great Eastern Medallion: Front , Reverse
(Sorry about the quality. Hard to scan.)
Timeline
  • 1851 Isumbard Kingdom Brunel got idea to build Great Eastern.
  • 1851 Henry Thomas Hope organized Eastern Steam Navigation Company
  • 1854 Construction starts near Isle of Dogs, in Millwall
  • 1857 Sept., Last plates riveted
  • 1857 Nov. 3, Announced date of launching by Brunel
  • 1857 Dec., 2nd attempted launch with Prince Albert and Prince of Wales in attendance
  • 1858 Jan. 5, Another attempt
  • 1858 Jan. 30, Next announced attempt, but too windy
  • 1858 Jan. 31, Launched at last
  • 1859 Aug., Initial fitting out completed
  • 1859 Sept. 6, Announced date of voyage to Holyhead
  • 1859 Sept. 7, voyage to Holyhead commenced but off Hastings an explosion occurred that blew the forward funnel off.
  • 1859 Sept. 11, Brunel dies
  • 1859 Oct. 8, date of first scheduled departure for New York but not met.
  • 1860 May, Boarding of passengers for New York from South Hampton
  • 1860 June 17, Leaves for New York with 35 paying passengers, 8 company "dead heads" and 418 crew
  • 1860 June 28, Ship arrives at Sandy Hook near New York. Sight seeing in New York
  • 1860 Late July, 2 day cruise to Cape May. Terrible trip
  • 1860 Aug. 9, 2nd cruise, arrives in Annapolis
  • 1860 End Aug., Returns to England in 9 days 4 hours with 100 passengers
  • 1861 May 1, 2nd trip to US. advertised. 100 passengers. Arrived in 9 days 13 hours and 20 minutes
  • 1861 May 25, Return to England. 194 passengers
  • 1861 July?, converted to a troopship
  • 1861 Aug., sails for Quebec with 2,144 officers, 473 women and children and 122 horses, and a crew of 400. Crossing made in 8 days and 6 hours
  • 1861 Late Aug., return to England with 357 passengers
  • 1861 Sept. 10, voyage from Liverpool to New York. 400 passengers
  • 1861 ?Dec. 10?, Hurricane of a storm disables Great Eastern and it drifts helpless for 75 hours. On the 16th or 17th it managed to return to Cobh(Queenstown)
  • 1862 Early, refitted
  • 1862 May 7, sailed for New York with 138 Passengers
  • 1862 May 17, arrives in New York
  • 1862 ?, return to England with 400 1st class and 300 steerage passengers
  • 1862 July 11, arrives in New York with 376 passengers
  • 1862 Late July, returns to England with 200 1st class and 300 steerage passengers
  • 1862 Aug. 6, arrives in England
  • 1862 Aug. 17, voyage to New York with 820 passengers
  • 1862 Aug. 27, arrive near New York
  • 1862 Aug. 28, while entering, strikes rock off Montauk Point, Long Island ("Great Eastern Rock") and opens an 83 foot long gash
  • 1863 Jan. 6, Return to England with 1200 passengers
  • 1863 Jan. 17/18, arrives in England
  • 1863 Jul. 1, voyage to New York with 650 passengers
  • 1863 Aug., voyage to New York1864 Jan., sold and converted to cable laying
  • 1865 May, taking on cable in Sheerness (1,395 Nautical miles of cable)
  • 1865 Jul. 15, headed for Valencia, Ireland (Near Bantry Bay)
  • 1865 Jul. 23, headed out across Atlantic for Hearts Content, Newfoundland
  • 1865 Aug. 2, at halfway mark. Due to problems the cable was lost. Though attempts were made to retrieve cable, there was no success.
  • 1865 Aug. 18, arrived back at Crookhaven
  • 1866 June 30, sailed from Sheerness to Bereshaven to take on coal
  • 1866 Jul. 14, left Valencia on 2nd cable laying attempt
  • 1866 Jul. 22, passed 1/2 way mark
  • 1866 Jul. 27, Arrived at Hearts Content, Newfoundland
  • 1866 Aug. 11, left Hearts Content to return to spot where
  • 1865 cable was lost. Grappled 30 times and recovered it and buoyed it off
  • 1867 ?, ship refitted by French to transport tourists from America to French Exposition

The following are the dates relating to Jules Verne's crossing:

  • 1867 Mar 26, Sailed for New York from Liverpool with 123 passengers  
    ***Jules Verne and Brother Paul*** on this voyage.  
  • 1867 Apr 9, (14 days later) arrive in New York after another bad storm
    Jules Verne and his brother Paul visit Niagara Falls on April 12, 1867. 
    (
    view signature in guest register)
  • 1867 ?, took 12 days to return to Brest with 191 passengers
  • 1868 ?, converted back to cable ship
  • 1869 June, sailed from Portland to Brest
  • 1869 June 20?, departed for Miquelin
  • 1869 Jul. 11, near Miquelin, spliced to shore cable on 22nd day out(from 1865-1874, the Great Eastern submerged 5 Trans.-Atlantic lines and repaired 4 of them in mid-ocean)
  • 1869 Nov., left Portland for Bombay (83 day voyage)
  • 1870 Feb. 14, left Bombay stringing cable, took 2 weeks to reach Aden
  • 1873 Jun. 6, sailed from Valencia to Hearts Content
  • 1874 Aug. 23, arrives at Hearts Content to lay cable West to East
  • 1874 Aug. 26, begins laying cable West to East to Valencia (took 2 weeks)
  • 1874 ?, sails to Millhaven to be "mothballed". Stays until
  • 1876 when it assists in making 2 dry docks
  • 1885 Oct., sold at auction
  • 1886 Apr. 29, guests arrive for voyage to Liverpool where it is turned into a floating billboard
  • 1886 Fall, the charter for advertising ends
  • 1886 Fall, the ship is towed to Dublin, has a short stay and returns to Greenock
  • 1887 Oct. 20, sold at auction
  • 1887 Nov., scrappers bought her
  • 1888 Aug. 22, leaves for Liverpool
  • 1888 Nov. 21, auction of parts
  • 1889 May, breaking up beginsBreaking up takes 18 months!!!
  • 1890 body found between twin hulls, thus confirming previous rumours
  • 1890 scrapping completed
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