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View of the Great Eastern

Having reached the deck of the ship, we perceive that it is tubular, after the plan of the Britannia bridge; and it is formed of two half-inch plates at the bottom and two half-inch plates at the top, between which are webs which run the whole length of the ship. The centre of the vessel is divided into eleven water-tight compartments. The part below the water-line is provided with longitudinal cells, held together in the same manner as the parts above; in fact, the construction consists of two ships—a large one and a still larger. Descending from the deck is a considerable space, which will be covered, and made available as a promenade for the passengers when the weather is too bad to enable them to remain on deck; below this is a saloon 80 feet long, 36 feet wide, and 15 feet high; from this passages lead to the sleeping-berths, each 10 feet by 6 1/2 feet, 7 1/2 feet high and which are well lighted and ventilated. There are fourteen of these bedrooms on each side of the saloon; and the vessel consisting of three decks, we have eighty-four of these apartments in each division of the ship, which is distinctly separated from the other compartments. Down in the depths of the ship, so deep that a feeling of dizziness is caused by looking down, are the boilers, of which there will be ten: some are fixed; indeed, 120 feet is entirely completed with the exception of the fittings of the cabins. There is also room for 10,000 tons of coals.

SOURCE: The Illustrated London News, May 24, 1856