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The "Great Eastern" [graphic] : the largest steamship in the world.

Additional Title(s):

Lewis's great establishments

[Liverpool] : [s.n.], [1886?]
Physical Description:
1 printed handkerchief : on linen ; 42 x 45 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Textiles 2a
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Lithographed handkerchief, printed in black on linen, featuring an illustration of the Great Eastern steamship at center, surrounded by seven vignettes, with descriptive text and advertisements. The handkerchief was probably printed in 1886 (or shortly after), as one of the panels of text notes: "Brought to Liverpool, May 2nd, 1886. Ship enthusiastically received, quite a quarter of a million people lining the river sides." A second title, at top, reads: "Lewis's great establishments." The vignettes include a portrait of the late David Lewis, along with depictions of Lewis's department stores at Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and Sheffield. A paragraph of text at bottom offers a detailed listing of the Great Eastern's physical specifications
The Great Eastern was designed for transatlantic and Far Eastern voyages, but was later modified to lay transatlantic telegraph cables. After her final successful telegraph cable laying voyage in 1874, she fell into disrepair, and was eventually auctioned in 1885. In 1886, the ship was chartered to Louis S. Cohen, Managing Director of Lewis's Department Store in Liverpool, on condition that it was made available for the Liverpool Exhibition of Navigation, Travelling, Commerce and Manufactures to be held that year. Requiring much cleaning and restoration, it was moved from Milford Haven to Liverpool. By the time she reached port of Liverpool, sign writers had painted large advertisements on both sides of the ship promoting Lewis's establishment. The main and aft cable tanks were converted into Music Halls, the Grand Saloon into a bar, and the Ladies saloon became a dining room. As well as all the stalls and side shows spread around the ship, various acts entertained guests, including a group of trapeze artists. In the first month some 50,000 people paid their shilling to go aboard, and around 500,000 people visited the ship during its stay.
As was often the case on large passenger ships, even as early as the mid-19th century, the Great Eastern had a printing shop on board to keep the passengers informed and entertained during a long voyage, and which continued to be used extensively during the later cable expeditions. One of the most popular attractions for visitors in 1886 was the retained lithographic press where, for the price of 1d, the image on the present handkerchief could be printed.
Subject Terms:
Department stores -- Great Britain.
Great Eastern (Steamship)
International Exhibition of Navigation, Travelling, Commerce & Manufacture (1886 : Liverpool, England)
Lewis, David, 1823-1885.
Liverpool (England) -- History.
Ship presses.
Steamboats -- Great Britain.
Cloth prints.
Printed textile materials.
Lithographs -- 1886.

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