Medway Queen back home in the Medway

Despite the controversy, there’s something that touches the soul about seeing the newly re-hulled paddle steamer Medway Queen on her home river again.

I only hope some kind of regulatory miracle can be achieved that will make it possible for her to carry passengers. Her new riveted hull may be an accurate reproduction of the original, but I gather there is a big question over whether she will be able to work as a pleasure steamer under the rules – and over whether she would be viable if she did.

Read more about her here and at the Medway Queen Preservation Trust website.

My thanks to cruising sailor, bargeman, singer and melodeonist Mick Nolan of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust for the photos! (Why not like the TSBT’s very popular Facebook page?)

2 thoughts on “Medway Queen back home in the Medway”

  1. It may be the lack of watertight bulkheads to subdivide the ship rather than the riveted hull per se that prevents passenger licence being issued. This is difficult with a steamship that will have the boiler and engine in one space. The Thames Barge fleet are given exemptions so it’s not impossible. If a boat is operated professionally, properly equipped and stays within safe weather conditions, it may be possible to get a similar exemption. Better this route than trying to get a near 100 y/o ship to conform with present day standards.

  2. Sorry Aidan, but this is not a 100 y/o ship. She is a 2013 replica hull, though intended to have 100-year-old restored parts that had survived the years of neglect (importantly the engine, as I understand it, and paddle boxes). The question of a passenger certificate should have been a key element from the beginning. Reading a bit of the history much of the grief has come from extreme requirements from the Lottery Fund, for example, requiring rivets “that show”, not even flush as per the original, including below the waterline, where the MQPS wanted the hull welded.

    It has only recently dawned on the public that this is now expected only to be an elegant reminder of the original, and a demonstration that if enough money is thrown at it a riveted hull can be built well; and maybe they will get to watch the MQ steam up and down some day. Mostly she will be a no-doubt-interesting static museum. That’s all well and good, but not what I understand by “restore the Medway Queen to full operational use again” – .

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