Do you remember ss Great Britain's Bristol homecoming?

17th July 2009, 12:20
To mark the 40th anniversary of the return of the ss Great Britain to Bristol, the visitor attraction is appealing for your memories of the landmark occasion in 1970. David Clensy talks to former TV producer Ray Sutcliffe who travelled with the ship on her incredible final journey home,

As he looks out at the enchanting aquiline bow of the ss Great Britain, Ray Sutcliffe chuckles to himself.

"You know, there were some people in Bristol who didn't want this 'great big hulk of iron' being dragged into their city back in 1970 she looked considerably less beautiful in those days.

"But those of us who had got to know her, knew just how important she was."

It's hard to imagine it now, seeing her standing in all her glory on the side of the Floating Harbour, but back in 1969, the vessel that changed the way ships would be built forever, was a scuppered wreck a rusting lump of iron being rapidly beaten out of existence against the rocks of Sparrow Cove in the Falkland Islands.

When BBC television producer Ray first saw the once-great ship, he thought the idea of bringing her home which had been first mooted in 1967 was a virtual impossibility.

Over the following year Ray chronicled the ambitious project in a landmark documentary, The Great Iron Ship, which first brought the plight of Brunel's revolutionary ship to the British public.


24th July 2009, 15:01
I was on "Katsina Palm" in Avonmouth when the "Great Britain" came into Bristol. She looked in pretty poor condition, almost irreparable, so a very well done to those responsible for her rehabilitation

nick olass
24th July 2009, 22:37
I too was in Avonmouth when the 'Great Britain' came home to Bristol. I was a contractor, working in the Co-op Mill. The gang of us bunked off, and sneaked along the portway, we found a smashing spot under the bridge at Clifton. We had some bottles [not cans] of Bass Bitter, and were pleasantly merry when that sad old ship passed by.
Was that 40 years ago, blimey, where did it go?

Regards Nick

nick olass
23rd August 2009, 00:50

Funny, or maybe fickle, the way those who opposed the return of the sad, rusty old girl back then, are probably the ones who now shout her praises, and also claim that they were always in favour of bringing her back. People?