Sunday, 8 November 2009

SS Great Britian

This is about my first visit to Bristol's Great Great Great Old Lady shortly before I left. It was a fine morning and a joy to stroll along the riverside. (This is the Bee of Bristol.)

A Brunel was also there to greet visitors by the entrance beneath the giant hull of his famous design.

Before I admired the majestic vessel who was once the largest of her time and predates Titanic from above her ancient decks, I headed down into the dry docks. Century long exposure to salt water and elements had severely coroded her venerable belly now entombed within an airtight, humidity controlled chamber. A 2-story high machine silently keeps the humidity in the air below 2 percent though a system of vents.

Metal bandages kept her together and afloat on her last long journey home from the Falkland Islands

This is the caisson, a floating dam that kept the river apart from the dry docks.

A view of the bow, near the caisson.

And the replica of the original propeller, used in the first Transatlantic voyage (1845). It is 4.7m in diameter and weighed 3.9 tonnes, a massive thing.

Next, I watched the Red Coat CrimeanWar reenactment and entered the museum. After a trip back in time, glimpsing the vessel's various re-fitments and roles, from pessenger ship, migrant ship, troopship to warehouse over her long seafaring years, I boarded her deck. (This one facing the bow)

Facing the stern.

And entered her hull. It was a good and well decorated museum, like stepping through time and left me wishing there were more to explore.

This is the 3rd class accommodation.

First class cabin and the area outside the cabins. It was interesting to read about the stories and histories of the passengers, captains and different personnel whose life were connected and forever changed by the ship.

More economy class cabins near the bow.

A girl in the golden saloon, the dinning cabin that so bedazzle the media and dignitaries of her time.

And the huge steam powered engine.

I was also fortunate to be able to see a demonstration by a Victorian Physician who would be indispensable on such a long voyage. He showed how to remove a bullet from the arm a volunteer young boy, who wore full army green fatigue on his visit to the ship. Note the basin of bloodied water on the desk.

I walked about the great vessel to take in her beauty once more before I leave,

and remarked upon her intricate figurehead of lion and unicorn.

In the chill winter air, I hope to walk upon her deck once more - a promise to return.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Exhibition: Banksy vs Museum - pt2

Out of the zoo,

We continued our visit to the upper level of the museum, where the art galleries are. It is a delight to try to spot his contemporary works among the classical ones.

One of my favorite paintings, not so much because of the attire of the woman on the apron, but more so because of the ironic motives.

Out of the galleries, we headed towards more 3D works. The old flying contraption has a pilot once again.

and this faces the pilot.

Both of which overlook the central courtyard/entrance where the usual reception was replaced by a burned ice-cream truck,

The ice-cream truck was flank by this little pony rider and more statues.

There were so much more that we discovered on our subsequent visit to the exhibition, with another long wait to get in, as new works were added periodically. And so fun has came back in force to the museums and artifacts of old, long may the young'uns not forsake the knowledge, history and cultures of those who came before and roam the Earth now.