The SS Great Eastern Under Construction in Millwall, England


The SS Great Eastern was the first double hulled ship ever built. This image is during its construction, which gives a view of both the inner and outer hull at the same time. It was also the largest ship ever built at the time, and would remain so until 1899. It was originally designed to take passengers from London to Sydney and back without refueling; however, it only ever made transatlantic voyages. At one point, the ship hit a rock while trying to find a place to dock, tearing a 9ft wide 83ft long hole in its outer hull. The inner hull remained intact. If not for the double hull design, the ship would have likely been lost. Although a double hull would not appear on another ship for decades, it is now mandatory in passenger ships for safety.


“THE GREAT EASTERN.; How the Mammoth Ship Was Repaired--Visit of the Board of Underwriters--Their Certificate of Her Seaworthiness.” The New York Times, 17 Dec. 1862, pp. 2–2.

“Great Eastern.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 9 Sept. 2019,

Associated Place(s)

Timeline of Events Associated with The SS Great Eastern Under Construction in Millwall, England


  • Joseph Cundall

Image Date: 

18 Aug 1855