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Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, after many delays the Great Eastern was launched at Millwall on 31st January 1858. The project was a continuous source of friction between the various parties involved. Such was the general ill-feeling that Brunel refused to have anything to do with the launching ceremony and even suggested that the ship be called the "Tom Thumb". The stress caused by the whole project and the bankruptcy of the Great Eastern Company was to break Brunel's health. The vessel had cost £732,000. He died the following year soon after hearing of a disastrous explosion on board ship.