Search the Collection
Advanced Search
Image Not Available

Leviathan the Great Eastern quadrille

Date: c 1858
Overall: 332 x 245 mm, 2 mm, 0.05 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Sheet music
Object No: 00029046
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    The GREAT EASTERN was built to be the largest and most luxurious immigrant ship on the Australian run but the sheer size of the ship made it almost impossible to fill and subsequently too costly to run. A failure as a passenger ship, the vessel was converted into a cable layer and was eventually broken up in 1888.
    SignificanceThe Quadrille was commissioned to commemorate the launching of the largest ship in the world, the SS GREAT EASTERN in 1858. The vessel, a symbol of the power and engineering ability of Britain, was far ahead of its time. Destined for the Australia run, it proved too large to be economically viable and the greatest ship afloat was converted into a cable layer.
    HistoryThe paddle steamer GREAT EASTERN was the third of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's great shipbuilding masterpieces - the others being the SS GREAT BRITAIN and the SS GREAT WESTERN - this vessel was far in advance of its time. Laid down in 1854 and launched in 1858 the GREAT EASTERN displaced over 18.914 tons - three times the size of the next largest vessel, the SS GREAT BRITAIN.

    Brunel had designed the ship to carry 4,000 passengers (or 10,000 soldiers) along with 6,000 tons of cargo to India or Australia without re-coaling. Driven by two paddle wheels (powered by an oscillating engine) and a screw propeller (driven by a horizontal direct acting engine) the GREAT EASTERN with a length of 692 feet and a beam of 82 feet had a top speed of 15 knots.

    Construction and launching difficulties followed by the death of the vessel's designer delayed the vessel's final fit-out. Although designed to carry passengers to Australia and India, the ship was first deployed taking migrants across the Atlantic to America. Unable to operate successfully the vessel was later converted to a cable layer and broken up in 1888.

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.