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The 'Great Eastern' as a passenger liner
|Building the Great Eastern|
Problems of size
Because of the ship's size she had to be built parallel to the Thames rather than with the stern (rear) facing the water. It would not have been possible to launch the ship in the normal way because the stern would have run aground. A sideways launch would avoid this problem, but that method had not been used before.
When the keel was laid the cost of the ship was estimated to be £377,000 (£19 million in today's money), which was less than Brunel's original figure.
By the time of the vessel's launch the project costs had risen to £732,000 (more than £35 million in today's money).
Workers in wood and metal
The Great Eastern's hull was supported on large wooden 'cradles' while it was being built. The cradles and scaffolding were made by carpenters who still had a vital part to play in shipbuilding, even though iron vessels were beginning to replace wooden ships.
Enterprise of many trades
As well as metalworkers, many different types of tradesmen helped build the Great Eastern. Highly skilled craftsmen were required to furnish and decorate the public areas of the ship to the standards of a luxury hotel.