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SS (Steam Ship) Great Britain

Last modified: 2002-07-27 by
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[SS Great Britain]
by Rob Raeside, 19 June 2002 

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The flag was seen on a poster showing the SS.Great Britain. It has the Red cross of St. George on a white background, the top hoist has the British Union Flag and the lower Fly has the Stars and Stripes. Is this an original Flag or is it an artist's impression?
Morgan, 13 March 2002

It's not an artist's impression. The SS Great Britain, being restored in the dry dock in Bristol in which it was built, flies this flag. Another way of describing it would be a White Ensign with the Stars and Stripes in the lower fly. The flag symbolises the link which the ship provided between Britain and the U.S. I had assumed that it was a modern, invented flag, but I will try to check with the S.S. Great Britain Trust. The ship also flies a red flag with 'GB' in gold. On the quay alongside the ship are flown the flags of the countries which the ship visited while she was working - the U.K., the U.S.A., Australia and the Falkland Islands.
André Coutanche, 14 March 2002

In a leaflet about the ship available here [in Bristol] the flag can be seen indeed to have a ratio of 1:2.  So far as the origin of the flag is concerned, there is an often-reproduced picture of her launch in 1843 which shows her flying all sorts of flags, but not this one. However, a painting of her arriving in New York for the first time in 1845 *does* show her flying the UK/US flag - but I don't know whether this is a contemporary painting or whether it's a modern artist's impression which shows the
flag because the ship flies it now.
André Coutanche, 22 June  2002

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