The photograph is probably the most conspicuous of the souvenirs I brought back from my last visit to Bristol and the SS. Great Britain. To quote from The Great Western Dockyard Companion, which served as my guide, “GO ALOFT! Head to the Weather Deck to climb the rigging for a unique and exhilarating view of Bristol“. I must admit I didn’t sign up straight away, but I spoke to a chap who seemed very relaxed about the whole thing and before I knew it I’d signed my life away and emptied my pockets. You might not be able to see, but as well as a helmet I’m wearing a harness and I was clipped to a rope or cable in at least two places at all times. The relaxed chap stood on the deck and watched my careful progress up the rigging to a platform, on which stood a young woman who seemed perfectly at home at such a great height. With some encouraging, I managed to edge my way out and I had my photograph taken; as you can see! My four year old nephew was very impressed when I showed him the photograph and the certificate that goes with it describes my “Character for ability in climbing the mast and rigging” as “Very Good“, which I am very pleased about!
The passenger ticket is rather interesting. It has four stamps, representing the four stages of the ship’s life and four sections of the Dockyard Museum; The Ocean Liner, The Emigrant Clipper, The Wind Jammer and The Grand Old Lady. At first I thought these were a bit of a novelty, but as came to the end of the exit of the museum, which leads onto the ship, I realised I was missing a stamp [I can’t remember which one] so I had to run back and find it! Perhaps more museums should operate a stamp system to insure that the visitors to not miss anything.
“The Great Western Dockyard Companion” contains a map of the dockyard, a plan of the three decks and the dry dock.