Year 4 History Trip to SS Great Britain

Year 4 enjoyed a day out in Bristol visiting the SS Great Britain, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It was the world’s first great ocean liner. The trip was to support the Lent term’s History topic on the Victorians.


On arrival at the historic dockyard the children were given a range of activities to do.  As a result, this helped them appreciate what life was like on board for both passengers and crew on its voyages to New York and Melbourne. They could play with toys similar to the period, dress up as Victorians, try writing with pen & ink and try to guess what a range of Victorian artefacts were used for. A member of the crew took us on an informative tour of the ship where we looked at conditions in First, Second & Steerage classes as well as experiencing sounds and smells in the doctor’s surgery, galley and engine room. We then went ‘under water’ to look at the ship’s hull and how it is being preserved against further corrosion. Finally, we visited ‘Being Brunel’, an interactive museum, which had lots of Brunel’s original notes and sketches as well as the chance to draw a perfect circle (which apparently Brunel could do) in a moving train carriage.

What did the the Year 4s think?

We had a great day visiting The SS Great Britain and we learnt lots about Brunel. I enjoyed the museum and going to the cinema. The ship was amazing. (Jack, 4PJL)

I enjoyed the Victorian classroom and playing with the toys which were made of wood. We tried on Victorian clothes and drew some pictures before exploring the SS Great Britain. It was a fun day away from school.  (James, 4PJL)

The rooms inside the ship were small and the beds tiny. I wouldn’t want to be there. We saw 1st class which was better. The ship was interesting. (Tristan, 4PJL)

Walking inside the ship, then under the glass roof and seeing the rudder and propeller was really cool. (Charlie, 4PJL)

Overall, this was a fun, informative day for everyone, and exciting to be able to resume school trips again.