Brunel Museum

Brunel Museum Located in historic Rotherhithe the Brunel Museum is on the site of the Thames Tunnel, the first tunnel under a river anywhere in the world, and the only project which both Brunels (father Marc and son Isambard) worked on together.

Lovers of film, silent film, cocktails, underground spaces, historic venues, rooftop gardens, plants, firepits, toasted ...
26/04/2019

Lovers of film, silent film, cocktails, underground spaces, historic venues, rooftop gardens, plants, firepits, toasted marshmallows, grand pianos, virtuoso musicians.....we have just the thing for you.

Midnight Apothecary is combining cosy campfire and wild cocktails in our candle-lit garden above ground with iconic films underground in the very special second season of ‘Down the Shaft Film Club'.

For your delectation we present Charlie Chaplin's 'Easy Street' and Laurel & Hardy's 'Big Business' and 'Liberty'. They will be accompanied on grand piano by the virtuoso talents of the UK's leading silent film piano accompanists Meg Morley (2 May) and Neil Brand (16 May) in the Victorian underground Grand Entrance Hall to Brunel's Thames Tunnel at the Brunel Museum.

This is one of London's secret and most unusual underground venues to enjoy classic silent cinema. This historic venue is directly below our hidden candlelit garden where you will be able to toast marshmallows around the firepit and sample a hot toddy, delicious street food or one of our award-winning botanical cocktails made from ingredients grown in the garden or foraged close by. We also have rather wonderful beer from local Bermondsey brewers Hiver and Anspach & Hobday and gin from award-winning Bermondsey distiller Jensen.

What better venue to celebrate the medium of film than the entrance to Marc Brunel’s engineering masterpiece, the Thames Tunnel: the first tunnel under a navigable river anywhere in the world. A place of imagination, inspiration and wonder.

Arrive from 6pm for campfire, wild cocktails, deluxe hot toddies, locally crafted beer and sizzling seasonal street food (not included in the price of your ticket) in our enchanting candle-lit secret roof garden. Descend underground to be transported by films before emerging into the night air for more real-life fireside adventures. Films begin at 7.30pm. Our campfire, complimentary toasted marshmallows and streetfood will be available for you before and between the films.

We can warm your cockles with hot toddies but please wear warm outdoor clothing for this event as it takes place in a garden and underground shaft so can get a bit chilly.

Midnight Apothecary is a celebration of wild cocktails, campfire and camaraderie in the city. We grow and forage the ingredients for our drinks in our rooftop garden at the Brunel Museum.

https://midnightapothecary.designmynight.com/5caf583d0511914a1f5499a5/down-the-shaft-film-club-1

Come and celebrate Marc Brunel's 250th birthday with us today!
25/04/2019

Come and celebrate Marc Brunel's 250th birthday with us today!

A picture of a bust of Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, as it is his 250th birthday today!
25/04/2019

A picture of a bust of Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, as it is his 250th birthday today!

This week's Worldwide FM Album of the week is Modern Times! Have you checked it out yet? https://orcd.co/elliotgalvinCom...
23/04/2019

This week's Worldwide FM Album of the week is Modern Times! Have you checked it out yet? https://orcd.co/elliotgalvin

Come to the album launch concert at Brunel Museum Tunnel Shaft on 15th of May! See you there!
Tickets> https://www.wegottickets.com/event/465483

Morning Mari*'s album of the week is Elliot Galvin's 'Modern Times' out on Edition Records on the 19th of April. Tune in to Worldwide FM to hear this incredible album throughout the week.

→ wrldwd.fm/moderntimes

Where could be better for celebrating Halloween than at the Midnight Apothecary?
12/10/2018
Food & Drink Guide

Where could be better for celebrating Halloween than at the Midnight Apothecary?

Looking to celebrate #Halloween in true spooky style this season? Then check out our list of 5 of the most frightening #foodie events taking place in #London and welcome in the witching hour with a kooky #cocktail and unforgettable Halloween #feast this year. #foodanddrinkguides #fedupanddrunk

Sexy Fish Restaurant The Little Blue Door Brunel Museum Smoke & Salt The Dead Dolls House

The Brunel Museum Autumn Wildlife Watch has started!Today: honeybee on borage blossom, drunk on nectar in the autumn sun...
26/09/2018

The Brunel Museum Autumn Wildlife Watch has started!

Today: honeybee on borage blossom, drunk on nectar in the autumn sunshine.

We look forward to seeing your wildlife shots taken in our garden - please share your pictures!

#AutumnWatch #SendUsYourPics

London Natural History Society RSPB Love Nature

Deptford History is an excellent page to follow if you'd like to know more about our local area.
06/09/2018

Deptford History is an excellent page to follow if you'd like to know more about our local area.

On this day in 1859... + another first for Deptford - the electric telegraph...
The last photograph of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, making a final visit to his ship, the SS Great Eastern, lying off Deptford, where it was fitted out, on the 5th September 1859.
Though christened Leviathan during a initial launching attempt in early November 1885, she was thereafter always known as Great Eastern.
It is one of only eight existing photographs of Brunel and is the last photograph taken of him before his death.
The Great Eastern was Brunel’s final project and its construction was full of problems. These problems put Brunel under a great deal of stress. On September 5th, 1859, while surveying the vessel on the eve of its first sailing, Brunel suffered a stroke. Four days later, a heater abroad the ship exploded, and six people were scalded to death. The news of this disaster hastened Brunel’s death on September 15th. He did not live to see her maiden voyage completed. Instead of the world’s greatest passenger ship, as Brunel hoped, SS Great Eastern became a workaday cable-laying vessel.

Another first for Deptford: The Great Eastern’s First Cable – electric telegraph - Millwall to Deptford - Such a communication system had never been implemented before. The Great Eastern was to be the most heroic of submarine telegraph cable layers, alone connecting Europe, America and India, proving that intercontinental electrical communication was possible. Remarkably, the connection with the telegraph had started with her birth, between Deptford and Millwall.

The Great Eastern arrived in Deptford on 31 January, 1858, to be fitted out. She remained in Deptford until her first voyage on September 7, 1859. The last photograph taken of Ismambard Kingdom Brunel was taken aboard the Great Eastern on September 5, 1859. Brunel knew her affectionately as the "Great Babe". He died in 1859 shortly after her ill-fated maiden voyage, during which she was damaged by an explosion.

31 January, 1858. Throughout the night the water ballast was pumped out of the ship and at 1.30 pm the ship was finally afloat. Four steam tugs, Victoria and Pride of all Nations at the bow, with Napoleon and Perseverance at the stern gently moved the Great Eastern to the Deptford side of the river where she would be fitted out. As this was going on a barge fouled the starboard paddle wheel and Captain Harrison ordered it to be sunk.

September, 1859
The ship however held fast an unlucky reputation and only four days after leaving her moorings at Deptford for her first trip, an overheated boiler caused a terrible explosion that launched the forward funnel like a rocket, killing five boiler men and critically injuring many others.

Image: Harper's Weekly (1 January 1859).

SS Great Eastern was an iron sailing steam ship designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and built by J. Scott Russell & Co. at Millwall on the River Thames, London. She was by far the largest ship ever built at the time of her 1858 launch, and had the capacity to carry 4,000 passengers from England to Australia without refuelling. Her length of 692 feet (211 m) was only surpassed in 1899 by the 705-foot (215 m) 17,274-gross-ton RMS Oceanic, and her gross tonnage of 18,915 was only surpassed in 1901 by the 701-foot (214 m) 21,035-gross-ton RMS Celtic. With five funnels (later reduced to four), she was one of a very few vessels to ever sport that number, sharing her number of five with the Russian cruiser Askold – though several warships, including HMS Viking, and several French cruisers of the pre-dreadnought era had six.

Brunel knew her affectionately as the "Great Babe". He died in 1859 shortly after her ill-fated maiden voyage, during which she was damaged by an explosion. After repairs, she plied for several years as a passenger liner between Britain and North America before being converted to a cable-laying ship and laying the first lasting transatlantic telegraph cable in 1866.[4] Finishing her life as a floating music hall and advertising hoarding (for the famous department store Lewis's) in Liverpool, she was broken up in 1889.

The SS Great Eastern was Brunel's massive 22,500-ton steamship that was so far ahead of her time that her length (nearly 700 feet) and tonnage would remain unmatched for four more decades. She was by far the largest ship the World had ever seen and was intended for the passenger and cargo trade between England and Ceylon.

Though christened Leviathan during a initial launching attempt in early November 1857, she was thereafter always known as Great Eastern. Nearly three month's costly struggle to get her afloat, and more problems while she was completing, left her original company bankrupt. New owners decided to employ her on the route between Britain and North America. However, insufficient capitalisation restricted outfitting to luxury accomodations, thus ignoring the decidedly non-luxurious, but very profitable immigrant trade. The ship financial difficulties continued, compounded by a series of accidents.

In September 1859 Great Eastern's first voyage was cut short by a boiler explosion. Her second company collapsed under the expense of repairs and a new firm took her on. Finally reaching New York in June 1860, for the next two months she was exhibited to the public and made voyages along the U.S. coast. Nearly a year passed before Great Eastern's next westbound trip in May 1861, by which time the American Civil War had begun. During June and July she transported troops to Quebec to reinforce Canada's defenses. In September Great Eastern began another trip to New York, but was disabled by a severe storm. In mid-1862 she made three voyages, but improving commercial prospects abruptly ceased when she struck an uncharted rock entering New York harbour, necessitating more expensive repairs. She did not resume service until mid-1863, making two more trips and bankrupting yet another company.

Sold at auction, Great Eastern was chartered for laying a trans-Atlantic telegraph cable. The ship finally found her niche. In 1866 Great Eastern brought a cable to North America, establishing nearly instantaneous communication between the Old World and the New that has remained unbroken ever since. Following a unfruitful effort by French interests to put her back into passenger service in 1867, Great Eastern returned to cable work. Between 1869 and 1874 she strung six more cables from Europe to America, repaired two earlier ones, and laid another across the Indian Ocean.
Great Eastern was laid up at Milford Haven, Wales in 1874. In 1886 she steamed to Liverpool to become an exhibition ship. This prosaic, but profitable employment continued during visits to London and Scotland later in the year. Sold late in 1887, Great Eastern went back to Liverpool, where she was stripped and slowly broken up during 1888 and 1889.

1859 FIRST VOYAGE
By August 1859 the fitting out had been completed and 30 August was given as the date of the first voyage but this was put back to 6 September. The destination was Weymouth, for which the fares were either £6 or £10 depending on the choice of cabin. From Weymouth a trial trip into the Atlantic would be made. After this the ship would make for Holyhead which was be its port for voyages to America. The company had an agreement with the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada to use Portland, Maine as its port of call in America. In preparation for this the railway had a special jetty built to accommodate the ship.

The original schedule was as follows Great Eastern would leave her berth on Tuesday 6 September for the Nore where she would adjust her compasses. Then on to Portland Harbour where she would be open to visitors from 9 to 15 September. This would be followed by a trial trip of up to three days and then the ship would head for Holyhead. The ship would again be open to visitors from 19 to 26 September. Passengers for the trip to Holyhead would board on the 16th. Passengers, letters and parcels for America would be taken on board on Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 and the ship would leave on 30 September. The return journey from Portland, Maine would commence on 1 November. Following the explosion off Hastings the departure date for the trip to America was put back to 20 October. This was probably based on Russell’s estimate of needing three weeks to complete repairs.
Between 150 and 200 passengers boarded the vessel on 5 September. A further delay put back the departure back a day. At 7.30 am, on 7 September 1859, the Blue Peter was hoisted and with four steam tugs in attendance, Victoria and Napoleon at the bow with Punch and Victor at the stern the Great Eastern began moving down the Thames. The leading tugs were themselves attached to other tugs there to provide assistance in an emergency. The river was so crowded at the entrance to the West India Docks that the ship was forced to stop for a time. Because of this delay and other hold ups it was decided to moor at Purfleet for the night. The following day accompanied by hundreds of small craft and watched by spectators along the banks the ship moved out of the Thames and headed for Weymouth.

All went well until the ship was off Hastings when there was a violent explosion which blew off the forward funnel and completely wrecked the Grand Saloon. The funnels were fitted with feed water jackets through which water passed on its way on its way to the boilers. This jacket served two purposes, it preheated the boiler water and it helped to reduce the heat in the saloons through which the funnels passed. The two forward funnels had been fitted with stop cocks, on the instructions of Brunel, and though both were open when the ship sailed both were closed when the accident occurred. One of the engineers on board having realised what had happened checked the other stop cock and finding it closed, opened it thus preventing a second explosion. The build up to the explosion began when officer of the watch Mcfarlane on duty in the paddle engine room who was having problems with the donkey engines which pumped water to the boilers, to overcome this he decided to bypass the feed water heaters. These heaters, full of water, were now sealed at both ends and heated by the funnels were an accident waiting to happen.

.....................................

The Great Eastern’s First Cable – Millwall to Deptford - Such a communication system had never been implemented before

Great Eastern was an iron sailing steam ship designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, built by J. Scott Russell & Co. at Millwall and fitted-out at Deptford.


What was this unique umbilical cable?
Sometime between February 15, 1859 and September 7, 1859, S W Silver, patentees and makers of india-rubber insulated telegraph wire, made a short submarine cable to run under the river Thames from Millwall to Deptford. This connected the Great Eastern, lying, incomplete, at anchor, and the ship yard that was to finish its construction, intended to coordinate the fitting-out work and the movement of materials across the river. It is reasonable to presume that the instruments used were Charles Wheatstone’s Universal telegraph, a magneto-electric instrument that did not require batteries and indicated the ordinary alphabet on its dials. Silvers’ were shareholders in Wheatstone’s Universal Private Telegraph Company and supplied most of its insulated “aerial cables”.
During January 1859 the owners of the Great Eastern completed negotiations with J Scott-Russell & Company to complete and fit-out the hull of the great ship. It had been lying off Deptford since its launch on January 31, 1858, a year previously. Scott-Russell agreed that all work to ready the ship for sea would be completed in five months. His workers repossessed the bare hull on February 15, 1859.

During January 1859 the owners of the Great Eastern completed negotiations with J Scott-Russell & Company to complete and fit-out the hull of the great ship. It had been lying off Deptford since its launch on January 31, 1858, a year previously. Scott-Russell agreed that all work to ready the ship for sea would be completed in five months. His workers repossessed the bare hull on February 15, 1859.

The premises of Scott-Russell’s yard were large, extending for hundreds of yards along the river bank, with separate foundries and engine workshops “inland” on the Isle of Dogs. To connect all these and the hull by electric telegraph was a sensible, unique innovation. Such a communication system had never been implemented before, and clearly the sheer size of the project and nature of the site dictated its necessity.
The amount of work required to complete the Great Eastern was immense. Although several large components of both the paddle and the screw engines had been installed in the hull before the launch, they needed to be assembled; and such elements as the forty-ton paddle shaft, the twenty-ton rudder and the blades of the screw had still to be fitted. A newly-built floating derrick, not that much smaller than the Great Eastern, had to be employed to lift these items. Barges and lighters had to move back and forth carrying parts and materials between the ship at Deptford and Scott-Russell’s yard and engine works across the river at Millwall on the Isle of Dogs.
In addition, the bulwarks along the hull had to be made, the six masts manufactured, fixed and rigged, the huge hull had to be painted with several anti-corrosive coats, the main deck had to be laid, planed and scrubbed down. A fleet of twenty boats had to be provided and hung on davits and four steam winches each with double cranes for coaling and for loading freight were to be installed. Lungley’s steering apparatus, that indicated by pointers and coloured lights the position of the rudder for the vessel’s captain, had to be produced.
All of this was in addition to erecting the partitions for saloons and cabins, their decoration and furnishing. There were three different types of cabin, for parties of six or eight persons; for four persons and the usual double accommodation, with several kitchens, pantries, sculleries, a 100-ton capacity icehouse and wine vaults of a size more appropriate to the hold of a smaller ship.
Finally, bales of bedding, piles of furniture, crockery, electro-plate, chandeliers, as well as sofas, dinner furniture, mirrors, chandeliers and carpeting for the saloons, all on an unprecedented scale, had be taken on board.
All these tasks had to planned and co-ordinated – for the first time by electric telegraph…
Scott-Russell just met the fitting-out schedule; it is said that the work was scamped. TheGreat Eastern set out from Deptford on her sea trials on September 9, 1859; one of Scott-Russell’s engine-men omitted to inspect the safety valves in the feed-water pre-heater for the boilers. It exploded, killing several sailors and crewmen.
S W Silver & Company were, in 1864, to become the India-Rubber, Gutta-Percha & Telegraph Works Company, one of the major manufacturers of underwater telegraph cables.
The Great Eastern, as history loudly recalls, was to be the most heroic of submarine telegraph cable layers, alone connecting Europe, America and India, proving that intercontinental electrical communication was possible. Remarkably, the connection with the telegraph had started with her birth.

http://atlantic-cable.com/Cables/1859GE/

https://www.ssgreatbritain.org/your-visit/collection-stories/brunel-aboard-great-eastern

http://www.victorianweb.org/technology/ships/20.html

Address

Railway Avenue
London
SE16 4LF

Get off the Overground at Rotherhithe, turn left and immediate left again out of the station, and follow the signs, it's about a 2 minute walk.

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Telephone

02072313840

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