Paddlesteamer Medway Queen is now afloat at her Bristol shipyard following major repair and restoration work, and preparations are being made to return her to the River Medway – when this will be depends on the availability of the tug to be used and then the state of tides and the weather.
The tug Christine, operated by AJ & Pratt of Rainham has been contracted for the tow.
This is great news – it will be wonderful once again to have a paddlesteamer on the Medway following the lovely Kingswear Castle’s move to the Dart.
I’ve asked the Medway Queen folks to add me to their press list so that I will be able to let readers know when she makes her big trip.
The plan, according to the MQ website is that she will berth at Gillingham Pier and that there will be a celebration event with the visitor centre will be open – although visitors will not be able to board the Medway Queen at this stage.
An escort of suitable vessels would be very attractive to mark the arrival of the paddlesteamer, but boats are asked to make their own arrangements and to avoid impeding the smooth running of the towing operation.
The Medway Queen folks need funds to carry out the completion work at Gillingham – why not take a look at their website and see what you can do!
Read more about the Medway Queen on the National Historic Ships website.
11 thoughts on “Medway Queen to return to the Medway shortly”
Sadly the P.S.Medway Queen will not be licensed to take passengers. The Heritage Lottery Fund (whatever) insisted that she be rebuilt using a riveted hull according to the original design. As she was then and is now this makes her ‘top heavy’ and whilst they got away with this in the old days more enlightened health and safety legislation will not now allow her to take passengers again. To my mind the restoration was a complete waste of time and money. I suspect that she will end up as a static floating museum aka an ‘away-day’ conference / wedding venue. Funds would have been better applied to rescuing the P.S.Ryde.
That’s very sad news if true – I hadn’t realised.
Is it not possible to re-ballast the ship. After all a yacht would be top heavy if wasn`t for a compensating keel. If it can`t be allowed to sail, what was the point of the exercise.
Michael – that would be my question. Perhaps there’s a problem in building-in a structure capable of bearing the necessary load?
I was going to make a donation to their engine restoration. But when I heard that I’d never be allowed to sail on her I withdrew my offer. I shall also not be making a donation towards any of the subsequent restoration. I think this whole exercise brings the restoring of heritage transport into disrepute. Whilst vintage cars, locomotives, traction engines, mill engines, whatever, can be restored from lottery funds at least when the opportunity arises such as during open days one can get up close to them and see them working. But an empty paddle steamer way out in a river is somewhat hard to appreciate from the bank; and even when moored will be about as inspiring as that other wreck of a paddle-ship Tattershall Castle. At least the TC has a public bar and restaurant on board!!
Although I agreee on some points that CJB views on the new “Medway Queen”, but considering the “PS Ryde” Restoration would be a loss cause as her hull and frames have rotted out!.
There is still (some) hope the former Clyde Passenger Steamer “SS Queen Mary” (now laid in Tilbury) may get restored back to the Clyde in the future, but time will tell on that one.
I’ve been a member of the Medway Queen’s supporters club for a long time, since the bad days when the hull was declared beyond repair, and I had no idea that the ‘new ‘ ship would not be allowed to carry passengers. If this is indeed correct I shall be very peed off indeed and will cancel my subs.
I’ve Tweeted a question to the MQ people and have also emailed – so hopefully I’ll get a clear answer. I do very much hope she’ll be able to work, not least because experience suggests that otherwise she may fall into disrepair.
Letter to Medway Queen
Why I’m not sponsoring the Engines
Monday, 25 January, 2010 6:57
I was very disappointed to read on the main web site that the Medway Queen will not be restored for public passenger sailings – and will hardly ever actually steam anywhere. A floating conference centre / business meeting place / nightclub / museum / whatever is not my understanding of what the Lottery Heritage Fund Awards are about. If Waverley and Kingswear Castle can take passengers for a spin up the Thames, why not the Queen? I think support for the project of restoration / recreation will diminish if the public aren’t ever going to have the chance to ‘sail’ on her. What’s the point of having the engines restored if they’re hardly ever going to be used? You might as well do what Turks have done with the Yarmouth Castle and simply have the paddle wheels turn idle. See the website at http://www.riverboats.co.nz/history.html – THAT’S how to restore a paddle steamer and use it for what is was built for – carrying people.
Some info. here …
“…the new hull being built in Bristol is a direct replica of the original and as such, the internal subdivisions do not come up to modern standards for sea-going passenger-carrying vessels, so the Department for Transport have refused a passenger carrying license. Happy to be corrected, but that’s what I heard….”
“…She could have had the hull made to meet the required safety specs, but the lottery would only fund a heritage rebuild, even down to rivetting the hull rather than welding….”
So in fact she wont be restored per se but will be almost a new build to heritage lines.
They may well apply for a “Exemption PC” from the MCA as both the “Waverley” and “Balmoral” would not meet the present Passenger Class PC specs for a new build.
Interesting, the “Medway Queen” new Hull has forward and aft Bow Thruster aperture made to the hull.