|Description||Letterbook for the Eastern Steam Navigation Company containing copies of letters to and sometimes holograph copies of letters from Isambard Kingdom Brunel regarding the running of the Eastern Steam Navigation Company and the building of the S.S. Great Eastern. This volume in particular contains the preparations for the ship, the enquiries Brunel carried out relating to the size of the ship that he should build, including enquiries relating to the various ports that a ship of varying size could dock at, comparisons with existing ships and shipping routes over time, cost of ticket, expenses of the voyage and potential profit to be realised. There are tenders for various manufacturers, specifications for the ship and the engines and reports of meetings of the Directors of the Eastern Steam Navigation Company and the Committee of Works as well as copies of resolutions passed at such meetings. There is also correspondence with astronomers including G.B. Airey at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich and Professor C. Piazzi Smyth of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, with whom Brunel began a fruitful relationship developing several new devices to aid the accuracy of astronomical observations on board ship and to stabilise the observation instruments as well as correspondence with various manufacturers over the development of the design and the tender process as well as the process of manufacture. |
There are several blank pages inserted at the beginning of the numbered sequence and the official folio 1 is blank, before renumbering restarts with the first copied letter. There are also, at various points in the volume, inserted pages which have been hand-numbered often including an alphabetical suffix after the page number. Since the ship had not yet been named, where possible the cataloguing uses the term that the writer has used to describe or name the ship. Where the ship has not been specifically named, in general the phrase "Eastern Steam Navigation Company's ship" is used.
DM162/10/12 also contains copies of correspondence relating to the Great Eastern steamship, some duplicating correspondence in this volume, while some of the correspondence is unique.