. At the end of her cable-laying career(then owned by Thomas Brassey} she was refitted once again as a liner but once again efforts to make her a commercial success failed. She was used as a showboat, a floating palace/concert hall and gymnasium. She acted as an advertising hoarding—sailing up and down the Mersey for Lewis's Department Store, who at this point were her owners, before being sold. The idea was to attract people to the store by using her as a floating visitor attraction. By the time she was sold piecemeal at auction in 1888 she had become an embarrassment.
She was broken up for scrap at Rock Ferry on the River Mersey by Henry Bath & Son Ltd in 1889–1890 — it took 18 months to take her apart.
Whilst it is rumoured that a human skeleton was found inside Great Eastern's double hull, the same thing has been said of RMS Titanic and the Hoover Dam (among others); and inspection hatches in the inner hull would have provided an easy escape. The ship was the subject of one programme in the BBC documentary series Seven Wonders of the Industrial World which repeated the tale about two dead bodies in the hull, including a child worker, although stated it as a rumour. An episode of Haunted History implied that the find of the skeleton was indeed factual. One of the narrators of the segment read an article published from the time when Great Eastern was being dismantled. The article stated that the workers broke into a compartment in the inner shell on the port side, and did find a skeleton. The idea of one or more skeletons sealed inside the hull traces back to the construction of Great Eastern, when it was discovered that two of the riveters, a worker and his apprentice, had mysteriously vanished. It was believed that they had been sealed on the inside by accident.
At the time of her local break-up Liverpool Football Club were looking for a flagpole for their Anfield ground and consequently purchased her top mast. It still stands there today, at the Kop end.[
It is rather strange that two of the above sources both say that she was broken up at Rock Ferry. The catalogue says New Ferry and most people around here know that, even if they only saw it on 'Time Team' a few months ago.
According to that program, when the iron hull bas being riveted together on the banks of the Thames in London, the sound of the hammering gave its name to a group of football supporters from Hammersmith - 'The Hammers'.
That is a fantastic picture of the cable-laying equipment. It's huge. Imagine the size of machine needed to make the cable in the first place.
Much of the cable she laid was actually made in Birkenhead.
"Brunel twice ordered the space between the two hulls to be cleaned out once before the ship was launched, following the pumping out of the water pumped in to stop her floating off. The second inspection and clean out was made in June 1859 during fitting out. Should anyone have become trapped between the hulls they could have escaped through the inspection hatches in the inner hull."
The local rags would have covered the story of Skeletons being found.A coroner would have been needed & a burial.None of these have been found to be true.Just another Mersey myth.
I agree, just a myth. However, inspection hatches have covers firmly bolted in place when required, makes the area watertight between inner and outer hull. Should anyone have been trapped in there, providing the filling of water never got them first, there would be plenty of air and they would have easily have been heard banging. Its not noisy building a ship for 24 hours a day solid. Even in those days, before compartments were sealed a thorough inspection was carried out.
God help us, Come yourself, Don't send Jesus, This is no place for children.
Just a quickie to derek, the Great Eastern was indeed broken up on New Ferry beach. The bow of the ship was almost in a straight line to where the Great Eastern Pub would be. Also the Time Team programme about the ship got their information wrong. If it had been laying where they said it was, It would've been laying right across New Ferry Pier.
I knew where one of The Great Eastern's ships bells was until the late 1960's or so.See URBEX on Warren Point New Brighton.I've always wondered what happened to it,as they were offered rather a lot for it about that time.It was engraved with the ship's name and was mounted on a wooden plinth, supported by a bronze figure of a fisherman one side and a lighthouse the other.All in all a magnificent piece and in wonderful condition.Hope this is of interest.
And another bit of useless information. A piece of the hull with a port hole in it used to cover a gap in the fence of the (great eastern) Pub when the stables were there. It was scrapped when they built the beer garden. Also in the early 90s our family had a wake for my mum at the Pub. I took a stroll into the derelict stables and lifted up an old carpet that had been thrown into a corner. What was underneath? A builders model of the ship that had been battered over the years. I asked in the bar if i could have it and the boss (Wayne) said yes. One of my brothers has it now.