50 Years Ago
A campaign was opened last week for funds to refloat the Great Britain, one of the three major ships designed by Brunel. The object is to tow her back from the Falkland Islands to the Bristol shipyard … The Great Britain was the first ocean-going iron ship and the first to be driven by propeller … Brunel intended the ship to carry passengers of the Great Western Railway … to New York, but the Great Britain made only a few transatlantic voyages before running aground … Brunel managed to refloat the ship, which for the next 20 years carried emigrants to Australia … In 1875, the Great Britain’s engines were removed and she was converted to sail, plying between Liverpool and San Francisco until put out of service by a fire near the Falkland Islands … Despite the ship’s age, her structure is still sound enough to survive the journey back to Britain.
100 Years Ago
On the afternoon of Saturday, August 24 last, the allotment-holders of a small area in Hendon … were sheltering in their sheds during a heavy thundershower, when they observed that small fish were being rained to the ground. The fish were precipitated on three adjoining roads and on the allotment-gardens enclosed by the roads; the rain swept them from the roads into the gutters and from the roofs of the sheds … It is not easy to say how many fish fell, but … they were numerous … All the examples which came into my hands … prove to be the lesser sand-eel (Ammodytes tobianus) … The place where the sand-eels in question were deposited lies about one-quarter of a mile from the seashore … The only explanation … is that a shoal of sand-eels was drawn up by a waterspout.
Nature 561, 319 (2018)