1924 - 2013

Medway Queen on the slip before being launched,the people must be members of the New Medway Steam Packet Company, and Alsia Shipyard owners and workers.
The paddle steamer Medway Queen on trials after being launched in 1924, at Troon, Scotland, built by the Ailsa yard. From the time she was built, she was recognised as one of the finest examples of Scotland's shipbuilding craft.
Painting of HMS Medway Queen under attack at Dunkirk.
Reputed to have shot down three aircraft
This photo was possibly taken on her last trip to Southend, before being withdrawn from service in 1963. Was going to be broken up, but was saved to be turned into a Marina Clubhouse on the Isle of Wight in 1966

Photo taken August 1962 leaving Southend Pier

Photo by Cyril Perrier

Medway Queen in
possibly Rotherhive Docks or East India Docks 1963, waiting for it's fate
As the Marina Clubhouse IOW, painted, and still looking good. Slight variations to her looks, aft vents now painted cream, were light brown. The aft entrance now covered.

The Medway Queen just outside the 'Mill Pond' at Binfield IOW in April 1981. After being remove to make way for the PS Ryde, which now is also facing a similar fate.

Photo by Mark Westcott

The Medway Queen as taken over by the Preservation Society in 1985. This was at the wall of the old Chatham Royal Naval Dockyard, and was at that time in the hands of the receivers. The Society eventually agreed a price and became the owner of the ship. Work then began in earnest to rid the ship of as much mud as possible, and then start to patch the hull to make it as water tight as possible. This was to take the best part of 18 months, owing to only being able to work between tides, and at weekends.
The ship after refloating in 1987. This meant shifting a few tons of mud from its interior and putting on temporary patches where necessary. It was required to float on three tides before we were allowed to move the ship down river to Damhead Creek.
This photo is shortly after the ship was towed to Damhead Creek on the Hoo Peninsula, from Chatham Dockyard some 8 miles away. This is now her home up todate. Access is via by the Kingnorth Industrial Estate.

Photo showing the ship some 12 years later maintained, but purely cosmetic.

But for the want of funds it could have been up and running by now.

Close up of the Crankshaft of the main engine. Mark Bathurst is seen working in the bottom left hand corner.
Mark travels from Margate to tend to the engine. Many of our volunteers travel from Dover, Gravesend and other outlying areas to come and work on the ship.
Why not join us and lend a hand, we need all the help we can get!
Here are some of our members who have put in so much of their personal time and effort, over many years in order to transform the appearance of the ship. Most of these volunteers are known as the "Thursday Gang".
Almost all of them are 65 plus, or older, the oldest member being over 90.
We could urgently use some young blood, please join the Society and come along and help.
Mike Roberts (Far right) with his Apprentices from Appledore Shipyard, Devon, who built our new Funnel and Fiddley. Brian Burton, one of our committee members, and also a member of the Rochester Boilermakers Union, who helped to make the building of the new funnel & fiddley possible, stands between the lads.

Newly built replacement paddle Box frames, built by our GMB friends pictured here on our site, awaiting painting and construction of new timber Paddle Box fronts by our carpenters.

This project was generously funded by a grant from the from the South East Co-op

Our carpenters, Ron Little and Peter Side, depicted here working on the second phase of the building of the paddle boxes.

The photo shows the construction of the hardwood base being added to the frame of one of them.

Model of the Medway Queen as seen at the Kew Bridge Model Boat Show, on June 12th & 13th 2004.

1/32nd scale model by Brian Eaton

Work is shown here progressing on the paddle boxes. However, progress was frustratingly delayed by inclement weather.
This is the new timberwork on the starboard side paddle box front taking shape
Estelle Morris MP, the Minister for Heritage & Culture, at a meeting with a delegation from the Medway Queen Preservation Society at the Ministry in Westminster.

Present at the meeting were (from left to right) Brian Burton GMB, John Kempton, Vice chair MQPS, Jonathan Shaw MP, Kevin Curran, General Secretary of the GMB Union, Estelle Morris, the Minister, John Chambers, Chairman MQPS, and Mick Laws, GMB.

Both Paddle box’s are seen here well on their way to completion.

At this stage of the project, the new emblems had also been carved and were awaiting painting

The Lottery team delegation that visited the ship and our Committee members on the 8th June 2004.
(From left to right)
Brian Goodhew, Vanessa Wells, Dr Houghton, Elise McGuinness and Noreen Chambers.
One of the newly carved emblems, painted and fixed to a paddle box front for its "first fitting"
Photo of one of the new paddle box’s as they are both nearing completion.
The photo does not do justice to the paddle box’s, they must be seen, to appreciate the fantastic job that has been done by the members involved

Mr. A.Z. Mumin, Affairs Officer for the Co-op, presents a plague to Ron Little, (centre) representative of the MQPS, upon the successful completion of our paddle box project, generously financed by the South Eastern Co-op.Mr. Jonathan Shaw MP was also present, he is a great supporter of our project.

The four members who were mainly involved and worked so hard on this project.
(Left to right) Alan Hartly (carpenter)
Ron Little(carpenter, who also worked out all of the details for this project) Len Knight
(painter and signwriter) and Peter Side (carpenter)

The official handing-over of the funnel & fidley was carried out by
Mr. J. Wilson. CBE, Managing Director of Appledore Shipbuilders Ltd, and Mike Roberts, apprentices

The ceremony took place at Chatham Historic Dockyard on the 30th June 2004.

New vents have now been added to the funnel display at Chatham Historic Dockyard.
Made possible by the generous efforts of our GMB members.

At this stage, seating remains to be added, which will be made from hardwood by our own carpenters

The new funnel being moved to a more prominent site within the Dockyard.
It is now located between the Historic Ships in the Dry Dock area

The display pictured here in it’s new location where it is far more prominently displayed than before, the new paddle boxes were added to the display, on the 15th May 2005

We look forward to installing the paddle boxes on the restored hull soon.

Another view of our display.
After a 21 year long struggle to preserve the ship it is exciting to see that the nation has finally decided to help us to restore our most historic ship of recent history, for the benefit of future generations.
However we urgently need your help to complete the restoration.

The new Carpenters shop opened in 2005, after the disastrous fire that destroyed part of our site in 2004. A lot of hard work was, once again required from our volunteers in order to restore these essential facilities. This effort was in addition to the maintenance of the ship herself.
If any society deserves ultimate success, it must be this one, after more than 21 years of struggling against the odds.
We were delighted to receive a
highly-prized donation in the form of an ex-mobile dental surgery. Our volunteers converted it for use as a mobile classroom. It is now highly decorated with Medway Queen designs and logos. The van was generously donated by Mike Johnson (on the left) who is also a MQPS committee member.
The van was gratefully received, on behalf of the MQPS by Brian Burton of the GMB Union, (as above, on the right) who is also the Vice-Chairman of the Society.
The van is an integral part of the Medway Queen Lottery claim and is important in the Access and Learning Program. The GMB Union generously offered their assistance in fitting out the interior with educational IT equipment.
Morrison's Supermarket at Knight Road, Strood, was the venue for our fund-raising day on Saturday 20th May 2005
Members of our society, the publicly van and our 20 year old mobile model of the Medway Queen, are shown here.
Gary Hodnett, the General Manager of Morrison's Supermarket is seen here with Noreen Chambers, Secretary of the Society, Gary Hodnett wished the Society success in the on-going lottery bid, underway at the time. The successful outcome of which was subsequently announced in June 2006
Hans Juergen Freund.
Hans is a resident of Switzerland, albeit born in Germany and is a great supporter of the Medway Queen, he has traveled over to visit us and he and his friends have raised much needed funds towards the cost of restoring the ship.
Marylyn and George Hawkes, also Joe Stokes maintaining the funnel, fiddly and paddle-boxes on display in The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent.

.Hilltop Junior School, Strood, Kent.
A talk to school children was held. By Gill Ellen and Cyril Whittingham, to sixty who attended . Followed by question's and answer session.
Mrs Callaway, Headmistress, gave her thanks and wished the project every succes


The Dunkirk Little Ships at
Chatham Dockyard
in May 2008, to commemorate the 'Operation Dynamo' that helped to saved our beleaguered army in France in May 1940, from the beaches of Dunkirk.
See below.


The Medway Queen publicity van was present to let people know the valuable part our ship played on this occasion. Without the Paddle steamer most men would have been lost to the future of our ultimate success in 1945.

Why such a struggle to preserve our heritage today?

2006, and a sad picture of the Medway Queen being 'dismantled' for the want of a better description. The only economic solution , than try to transport to the shipyard by any other method.

Parts of hull we are told, are saveable. Engine has to be removed, and stored for restoration, at a later date.

We will do all we can to persevere until then.

What a sad sight, if the powers to be had acted when we first asked, the whole ship would have been saveable.

More shame on them, when we had worked for twenty odd years to save this Dunkirk veteran!

Just the keel and engine mounts left, but an inprint of the ship in the mud.

do not wish to dwell on this sad sight, this is the last picture I will show of this so called progress.
It brings tears to my eyes, to see, and share this sight with others.

John Kempton and David Abel signing the contract to re build the hull, took place aboard the 'Gannet' in Chatham Dockyard 2008.
Witnessed by local dignitaries and our Committee and members of MQPS.

What a day, waited 20 odd years for this.

Engine parts at 'Abel's ship yard, Bristol.

Our members had cleaned, and painted all that needed to be done at Chatham Dockyard.

More parts to follow later, all will be assessed for restoration.

The first part under construction, must be part of a 'Bulk Head' which will be about six in number!

The keel cannot be laid until the dock is free, hopefully in late spring 2009.

We expect some delays, as first 'Riveted' ship built for many years, and trades men are rare, that can use modern technique's.

New electrical heating equipment to heat up the rivet, which is shown in place, ready to go

Rivet heated up,ready to use.

The riveting technique with the electric heating device,
rivet red hot in seconds, in and squeezed, four
done in 1 minuets 37 seconds. Quite a new technique to the
older way.

A bulk head being prepared, showing rivets.

All these can be prepared with out the dock facility.

A reverse side of a bulk head showing the frame work of angle irons.
Close up of first part of keel to be made
The keel is to be made in sections, then assembled when dock is available

November 2009.
Keel now in dry dock, and rebuild starts.
Some of us have dreamed of this day, and now reality

Meanwhile, work carries on at Damhead Creek.
The second stage is also in progress, with the rebuild of the Captains Cabin.

Left to right: Les, Peter and Ron at work.

Basic framework of the Captains Cabin now made, still lot more to do
2010, the aft end bulkhead in position,Still the difficult rudder area to install aft of this.
A overall shot of the aft end of Medway Queen rebuild

Taken from the webcam
25th May 2010,
coming alone slow but sure.

Aft end, taken June 2010.

It would be helpful to have a second webcam at this end, after all it is history in the making!

July 2010, we now have a aft
webcam installed, now we can see all progress within reason.

Well done MQPS.

Here is a 'Toggle' to rivet the plates, faster than by hand I am told, and gives far superior results than the old way, by the 'Dolly'
Must be at least 6ft by 4f,t Quite large!


December 2010

Plating in place starboard, aft, just out of range of cameras


Work on the pistons and engine is on going as well as the hull, not seen on camera at present, only by photos as available

Albeit progress seems slow at time, shots over time tell different.
Latest view from aft end , rudder now in place (original from the old hull)
Welcome to 2011
The Galley in place, albeit not finished, just positioning at present.
Close up of Galley
Plating on starboard aft side in place
June 2011 progress towards the bows
talk about her hull being finished by end of year
October 31st 2011, progress is now showing, on course to return to the Medway in 2012 for sure.
Aft end shot, showing the sponsons in place, latest 13th Nov 2011
Web cam, different angle, work progressing on bow section
Dec 18th 2011
April 2012 bow plating completed
Consol unit finished sitting in workshop
Interior shot of forward saloon
Funnel and Fiddly now lay in dock for fitting
Visitors centre at Gillingham Pier
Interior of Visitors centre
Starboard side shot of bows
Update, June 3rd 2012, what is this, a" bridge of sighs" easy access I would have thought!
Cannot see her getting back to Medway this year, if this aft end is not completed soon!!!
Better shot of aft end, showing complicated shape to hand rivet, not going to be easy, most being a "Hand Riveting" job for sure, I would think!
Fuel tanks and a paddle wheel frame in workshop, lot of work as unseen on webcam, being undertaken out of sight.
June 29th 2012
Laying decking on the upper deck
Working on fenders at Gillingham Pier, paddle box fronts at rear
Shot of the engine room area,
soon be ready for installation of engine parts
Aft stairwell installed , getting there, slow but sure at present.
August 2012 work progressing on aft end painfully slow at present.
Meanwhile, work progressing at Gillingham Pier.
Preparing to place bollards at quay side, with a geen painted fender in background
(stop sponsons over riding quay at high spring tides)
September 2012.
Laying main deck, most is original decking, some rcycled timber.
Riveting by hand being carried out
Engine parts are starting to be install
New window for forward saloon, this is nothing like I thought they should be.
But , after trawling the internet, for conformation, I found a photo in the 30's showing just this.
My apologies for doubting this.

Albeit I thought we were re building to a selected period of time, being the 50's.
I am now told 1938, not as I understood at the time!
As the windows looked , after the refit from war service apparently
October 2012,
Work is progressive on the aft, as ever,but slow.
Port sponson is receiving attention, hence scaffolding.

November 10th 2012,
Crankshaft being lowered into place in engine room.
All looking good here.
Starboard view of hull, not seen on web cam.
Funnel and aft end deck laying on dock floor, to the left ,made up ready to fit when they are ready to do so?
Different view of aft end, still work to do to complete plating, still slow on this point!
November 29th and 30th 2012.
The apprentices , some staff, some committee members and some Mid Kent College members from Medway visit the re build at Bristol, properly dressed as should be, well done.
In the boiler room to be, fuel tanks seen built in to side of room, painted red, all good progress here.
Good view of "Bow Thruster" apertures lower hull, if and when installed.
Another view of aft end, work started on upper aft saloon at least, but sadly little progress on lower hull at present.
Dec 17th 2012
Aft end, showing the base of funnel and fiddly now in place on main deck, still little progress on plating aft it seems!
January 3rd 2013.
Aft deck in place at last, all looking good, but much work under this structure plating wise yet to be complete .