Website of the day: Full Steam Ahead

How are you with putting things together?  Maybe you grew up with Lego and Meccano. Perhaps you’re a dab hand with the flat-pack offerings of Ikea.  It’s possible you’re even more accomplished and service your own car and computers, and if you do, that’s quite impressive.

But imagine what it was like in Victoria times. No manuals, no internet, no handy YouTube "how-to" videos. It was pure trial and error, but with a fair amount of genius thrown in too.

Take Isambard Kingdom Brunel, one of the greatest engineers who ever lived. He designed the SS Great Britain, at the time the largest ship ever built, and the first propeller-driven iron vessel.

Doesn’t sound all that advanced now, does it? But in 1843, that was a seriously big deal.

At Full Steam Ahead you can have a go at a few of the challenges that Brunel faced, as part of its online celebration of the astonishing ship and its creator.

You have a small budget, and have to design a hull that will carry cargo, survive the rough seas and also be efficient through the water. And that’s just the beginning.

This is a brilliant site, full of history, experimentation and challenge, and we warn you now: it’s highly addictive.