No. 1127: Shad Thames, SE1
Shad Thames, London, SE1. Photo ©RogerDean 2014
Ins and Outs of London – W. O’Daniel, 1859:
On the other side of the river from Greenwich, is Millwall where the great ship is building. The “Great Eastern,” rising as it does like an immense wall of iron, high above the surrounding houses, is a sight as novel as it is interesting. She was designed by I.S. Brunell Esq., for the Great Eastern Navigation Company. To the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the highest point in London, the distance is four hundred and five feet. The length of the Great Eastern is six hundred and eight feet. So that could the Great Eastern be raised upon one end she would tower two hundred and seventy-five feet above St. Paul’s, and the upper end would be out of sight. She is eight-three feet broad and sixty high. She is entirely of iron. Up to the water mark there are two shells, or rather one hull placed in another, leaving between the two a space of three feet. The plates of iron here are an inch in thickness; above this a trifle thinner. There are two objects in view from this double hull. The first is, in case of a collision at sea. Should the outer hull be broken the interior hull will prevent any serious consequences. The second object, is in provision of a larger amount of ballast while at sea. This ballast can be obtained by filling, or partly filling, the intervening space with water, by means of the pumps. The space will contain about two thousand five hundred tons of water, which alone is equal to the full tonnage of a first class clipper ship.
The hull is divided into ten water-tight compartments, so that in case of accident any one or more parts can be guided independently of the remainder. The steam power to be employed is wonderful and almost incredible. She will have not only two tremendous paddle wheels, but also the largest screw propeller apparatus in the world. Her steam power consists of ten boilers having five funnels. Each boiler requires ten furnaces. Thus there are one hundred furnaces. In addition to the steam power there are seven masts, spreading about six thousand five hundred square yards of canvas.
[The propeller in the photograph above can be found on the riverside walk in SE1 just along from the Design Museum. R.D.]
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