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Genius Loci of Brunel’s SS Great Britain

There are many landmarks and attractions in Bristol, one of which is the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the other being Brunel’s SS Great Britain – they both claim to be the No. 1 tourist attractions in Bristol.  I am lucky enough to live “very” close to one of the  Bristol icons; as a matter of fact I live just a 100m ferry ride across the Bristol Floating Harbour from the SS Great Britain.

The location of SS Great Britain is a bit away from the city centre and is located on Spike Island.  The good directional signage for walkers and drivers ensure that anyone who wants to visit will not get lost.  If you are in the city, and enjoying a city centre walk, to get to SS Great Britain and the other attractions on Spike Island it is easy to locate.  Millennium Promenade is located at the bottom of Millennium Square, as we walk down the Millennium Promenade toward the harbour. A couple of minutes on the Cross Harbour Ferry from Hannover Quay at the end of Millennium Promenade will take you to the entrance of SS Great Britain.

3 minutes walk to the Hannover Quay ferry crossing to get to Brunel’s SS Great Britain

Two years ago, this walkway was like a Genius Loci of the area; the phenomenon, the pulse of the place, the process of a surprise of first seeing the SS Great Britain; you should be able to see that at the end of the Millennium Promenade corridor there is the majestic SS Great Britain to go and visit.   This could be a way of marketing SS Great Britain…. like seeing the Eiffel Tower from a distance, as a journey before you reach the aim of your trip. But obviously not so for the “number one Bristol Tourist Destination”.

Picture taken in October 2016, one can still see half of the body of the great ship from Millennium Promenade

Now, one can only see the masts of the ship which stand out behind the newly constructed buildings

Now, unless one is aiming to go to the  bars and cafes at the Hannover Quay inlet at the  end of the Millennium Promenade where the commuter catches the Cross Harbour Ferry across the Floating Harbour to the city centre and back there is no more Genius Loci of Brunel’s SS Great Britain from this side of the city.   One may still enjoy the walking experience toward the pretty bit of Harbourside as I mentioned in my earlier post, but there’s no longer any real pride of viewing Brunel’s SS Great Britain from this side of the city.

Great view of Brunel’s SS Great Britain as seen in 2016. Its history now. – Picture taken by Les Heines from Flickr

The question is will it still be a landmark to look at from a distance?




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