Monday, 28th November, 2016

We left Wookey Hole bathed in sunshine as we travelled toward Bristol. We were very comfortable at the hotel and were sad to leave.



The welcoming staff at the hotel did leave quite a lot to be desired.


On the way to Bristol, we stopped at Holy Trinity, Burrington.


Holy Trinity Burrington

The tower of the church dates from the 14th century and the remainder of the building from the 15th century.



This gargoyle has a barrel out of which to pour water on unsuspecting church attenders below!



Inside the church








The six photos above are details of a window depicting the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats.


Mary and Jesus

Mary Magdalene encounters the risen Jesus.



The baby Jesus is brought to Simeon in the Temple who immediately recognises him and says, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace for mine eyes have seen thy salvation."


Jesus in Temple

The worried parents of Jesus find him discussing theology with the priests in the Temple.


stalls and sacntuary

The small choir stalls and the sanctuary


This is the shortest lectern I have seen. It only just comes over the pew!


We were just about to leave when the whole population of Burrington Church of England School Primary School (all 77 children) arrived for their Advent Service. We were privileged to be invited to join them. It was a very simple service. The head teacher spoke about the meaning of Advent and the Advent Wreath. I was interested to learn that, although it is a church school, it is funded by the government and the children who attend do not have to pay any fees. The school is located right next-door to the church. Since the whole population of the town is only 464, I assume that many of the children come from other places nearby.

From Burrington, we continued on our way to Bristol. Having not had breakfast, the first thing we did when we arrived at the cathedral was to go to the café. They had very nice tomato and basil soup and I had a ham and cheese sandwich made with fresh bread which made a nice change.

We decided that, because the car parking time was limited, we would leave the cathedral for now and go to the SS Great Britain for the afternoon. We spent over two hours perusing the museum and walking around the ship externally and internally.

The story of the ship is most interesting, which you can read for yourself via the link above. In short, she was the first vessel to be made of iron and to be powered by a screw propeller. The ship was launched in 1843 and remained in various forms of service until 1933 when she was scuttled in shallow water just off the Falkland Islands. It was not until 1970 that she was towed back to Bristol where she has remained on show ever since.




The sign shows the various places SS Great Britain has been, including...


...Melbourne! (The "N" before miles is short for "nautical". A nautical mile is1.15 miles of 1852 metres.) The ship made many trips between England and Australia around the time of the gold rush. The museum includes an extensive library that has all the passenger lists.



Because the ship has been exposed to salt water for so long, it has badly corroded. The hull is now kept in dry air to arrest this process. The gas bill for this was £230,000 last year!


dry dock

SS Great Britain is located in the same dry dock in which she was built.


dry dock

A platform of glass encircles the ship so that the hull can be kept in dry air. You can see the ducts which deliver the air at the bottom of the photo.



At the end of the dry dock is a caisson. This is like a large metal bottle which slides into either side of the dry dock. When the dry dock needed to be flooded so that the ship inside could leave, the ballast inside the caisson was removed which allowed it to float to the surface. It was then towed out of the way and the ship could leave. There is a concrete dam behind this particular caisson to ensure the safety of the SS Great Britain.


timber baulks

When the ship was being built, the weight of all the iron amounted to 1,000 tons. This combined with the weight of the stone on the sides of the dry dock caused the floor to begin to buckle. The way the problem was solved was to put these pieces of timber in place. When they got wet, they expanded, strengthening the floor.


coffee pot


This crockery was made for the SS Great Britain.



I was surprised that they had room for all the animals they took on a voyage. Apart from the cow they typically had: 120 sheep, 5 lambs, 30 pigs, 2 bullocks, 500 fowls, 300 ducks, 60 geese, 30 turkeys and 5 rabbits!



The Weather Deck



The Captain in his cabin






The scullery. We were amazed at the details included in the restoration of the ship - down to scraps on plates! When the ship returned to Bristol it had been stripped of anything valuable, it was just an empty hulk which had been used to store coal.







The Doctor's Surgery


Dining Saloon

The Dining Saloon



Place setting



The musicians must have gone for a break.



The Engine (not quite a real one but they have gone to an enormous amount of trouble to make it look convincing). Parts of it move.




The firm of Thomas Crapper still exists today. The word "crap" does not come from his name.



Sadly, the hull is in such poor condition that the ship will never be able to be floated again. Interestingly, most of the corrosion happened after it was returned to Bristol.



Conditions were certainly crowded for the "steerage" passengers.


We just had time to get back to the cathedral in time for Evensong at 5:15pm. The service was sung by the men of the choir and the music was the responses by Cleobury, the canticles by Moore and the anthem O Lord Support Us by Edwards. The choir was excellent, particularly in regard to blending, diction and cut-offs. For dinner, we went to Toby Carvery! Sadly, the 33% discount scheme has ended so we had to pay full price but at £18.13 including "king size" serves and drinks it is still a very good deal.

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