The saloon was painted in "delicate tints", furnished along its length with fixed chairs of oak, and supported by 12 decorated pillars. Boys of the City School and girls of Red Maids were stationed in a neat orderly formation down the entire length of the Exchange. In late 1838, John Laird's 213-foot (65 m) English Channel packet ship Rainbow—the largest iron-hulled ship then in service—made a stop at Bristol. John Gray’s story begins on the island of Unst in the Shetlands. The story of Captain Gray reads like a classic Victorian mystery from the pen of Wilkie Collins. John Gray (1819-1872) was a Scottish merchant seaman and master mariner who served as Captain of the SS Great Britain for eighteen years. Honours were then bestowed on him by the Society of Merchant Venturers, and there were speeches from members of the Bristol clergy. A submersible pontoon, Mulus III, was chartered in February 1970. By this time, another design flaw had become evident. He remained a sailor to his marrow, as observed by an anonymous diarist: Gray also had great technical ability, which he needed in order to handle the fast and furious sailing pace of SS Great Britain and make the most of her powerful rig. The atmosphere of gaiety even allowed thoughts to drift away from the problems of political dissension in London. John Gray’s story begins on the island of Unst in the Shetlands. Her passenger accommodation was increased from 360 to 730, and her sail-plan altered to a traditional three-masted, square-rigged pattern. SS Great Britain Timeline; The Incredible Journey; Isambard Kingdom Brunel; Captain Gray. Great Britain (Ship) -- Fiction. (duplicated typescript). A steward checked on him later in the evening, reporting that Gray seemed ‘as sensible as ever’ and was writing a letter. [55] She was sold to the Falkland Islands Company and used, afloat, as a storage hulk (coal bunker) until 1937, when she was towed to Sparrow Cove, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) from Port Stanley, scuttled and abandoned. [10], At noon, the Prince arrived at the Great Western Steamship yard only to find the ship already "launched" and waiting for royal inspection. On 26 Nov 1872, the Chief Steward, John Campbell, wrote in his diary, with palpable distress: An almost unbearable poignancy was added to the tragedy when the ship docked in Liverpool on Christmas Day, to be met by Gray’s wife and daughters on the dockside. By travelling with Captain Gray, Victorians of all classes could be assured they were likely to arrive in Melbourne alive. Captain John Grey (1819 - 1872): master of SS Great Britain, 1969 (File) 6p. The four decks provided accommodation for a crew of 120, plus 360 passengers who were provided with cabins, and dining and promenade saloons. Brunel despatched his associates Christopher Claxton and William Patterson to make a return voyage to Antwerp on Rainbow to assess the utility of the new building material. [70]) Bristol-based tugs then took over and towed her, still on her pontoon, to Avonmouth Docks. John Gray captained the ship from 1854-72 and was extremely popular with crew and passengers alike, but his story ends in tragedy. [84] In 2008 the educational value of the project was honoured by the Sandford Award for Heritage Education. The two passenger decks were divided into forward and aft compartments, separated by the engines and boiler amidships. [49], On 8 December 1863, she was reported to have been wrecked on Santiago, Cape Verde Islands whilst on a voyage from London to Nelson, New Zealand. [1][2] He died in mysterious circumstances, after apparently jumping or falling overboard. In addition to his impressive physique, Gray possessed unquestionable authority. SS Great Britain got our unanimous vote for being outstanding at every level. There had been no way to let them know the sad news in advance, so as the Purser described, they were waiting, “looking for him they would never see in this life.”. John Gray (1819-1872) was a Scottish merchant seaman and master mariner who served as Captain of the SS Great Britain for eighteen years. [56] After a fire on board en route she was found on arrival at Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands to be damaged beyond economic repair. At each end of the main propeller shaft were two secondary coupling shafts: a 28-foot (8.5 m), 16-inch (41 cm) diameter shaft beneath the engine, and a screw shaft of 25 ft (7.6 m) in diameter 16 inches (41 cm) at the stern. In 1 library. [21], Brunel, anxious to ensure the avoidance of hogging in a vessel of such unprecedented size, designed the hull to be massively redundant in strength. The opposite end of the saloon opened onto the stern windows. [2], The novel Revenge My Death by Bill Jackman tells an invented story of Gray's disappearance being due to him being kidnapped by a passenger. The engines, which rose from the keel through the three lower decks to a height just below the main deck, were of the direct-acting type, with twin 88 in (220 cm) bore, 6-foot (1.8 m) stroke cylinders inclined upward at a 60° angle, capable of developing a total of 1,000 horsepower (750 kW) at 18 rpm. Iron hulls are far less subject to hogging, so that the potential size of an iron-hulled ship is much greater. Olcher Fedden described him as “a great man with a stentorian voice”, while Mary Crompton records that he tipped the scales at 16 stone 10 pounds. A portrait of the ss Great Britain's longest-serving captain goes on show at its new home in Bristol today. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. The royal party then had breakfast and, after 20 minutes, reappeared to board horse-drawn carriages. The Great Britain carried over 33,000 people during her working life. "John Gray, the captain of the SS Great Britain since 1854, mysteriously disappeared on his way home from Australia in November 1872. that it was mainly due to the captain not having updated charts, so that he mistook the new St John's light for the Calf light on the Isle of Man. Although a strict disciplinarian he was always popular amongst his crew because of his fairness and willingness to lend a hand. The gearing for Archimedes, of the spur-and-pinion type, had proven almost unbearably noisy, and would not be suitable for a passenger ship. [60] These included: The salvage operation, made possible by several large donations, including from Sir Jack Hayward and Sir Paul Getty, was organised by 'the SS Great Britain Project', chaired by Richard Goold-Adams. The masts were of iron, fastened to the spar deck with iron joints, and with one exception, hinged to allow their lowering to reduce wind resistance in the event of a strong headwind. It had already been decided that the christening would be performed by Clarissa (1790–1868), wife of Philip John Miles (1773–1845) and mother of Bristol's MP, Philip William Skinner Miles (1816–1881), a director of the company.