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Medway Queen

medway queen g ferguson 1960.jpg

Medway Queen seen at Southend in 1960 in a photo kindly supplied by Gillon Ferguson

Built by in 1924 Ailsa Shipbuilding Co in Troon 
Length 179.9 ft :  316 GRT
Engines : Compound Diagonal  21 and 48 in x 48 in

Owned by the new Medway Steam Packet Company, based in Rochester on the River Medway, England
Cruised from the Medway ports into the Thames estuary and up to Clacton or Herne Bay
Bow rudder fitted in 1936
Reboilered in 1938 for oil burning
Employed during World War II as a minesweeper
Made seven crossings for the Dunkirk evacuations and seriously damaged on the final return leg
Returned to cruising after the war for the General Steam Navigation Co who had taken over the New Medway company
Laid up after the 1963 season
Saved from the breakers, opening in 1966 as a marina clubhouse on the Isle of Wight but became increasingly derelict and sunken
Returned to the Medway on a floating pontoon in 1984 and berthed at Chatham under the ownership of the Medway Queen Preservation Society
Flooding on the tide at Chatham as preservationists attempted to preserve and restore her
Refloated on 1/11/97 and towed to Damhead Creek one week later
The Damhead Creek mud berth allowed the preservationists to work on her but deterioration was faster than preservation.
A plan was drawn up to apply for National Lottery funding to replace the derelict hull using whatever original materials were re-usable.
Funding was obtained to build a new hull up to main deck level only. 
The ship was dismantled in 2006 with potentially reusable parts, particularly the main engine, put into storage


Above : Medway Queen was removed from the millpond at Binfield, which first required dredging and then the breach of the millpond wall. Once out she sank on each tide
For more photos by kind courtesy of Derek Gawn, click here

Above : Medway Queen at Binfield Marina in 1981. Photo by Gordon Stewart. By this time she was half-submerged on each tide

Above : In May 1984 Medway Queen was refloated and, with pumps running, she was towed to Kingston Power Station jettty, East Cowes, where she was put on a semi-submersible for onward transport to the Medway.
Click here for photos of this operation shown by kind courtesy of Derek Gawn

Above : Medway Queen at Damhead Creek on 18th September 1993 on the occasion of a visit by passengers cruising on PS Kingswear Castle. Much cosmetic work had been undertaken on the vessel and it was still hoped that she could be restored.
Photo by kind courtesy of Phil Barnes. Click here for more from Phil Barnes' collection

A view of Medway Queen's engines in 2001 - Photo courtesy of Len Knight

Go to

Medway Queen - Official Vessel internet Site

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