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.
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
of HMS Medway Queen under attack at Dunkirk.
Reputed to have shot down three aircraft
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withdrawn from service in 1963.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
taken August 1962 leaving Southend Pier
by Cyril Perrier
Queen in possibly
Rotherhive Docks or East India Docks 1963, waiting for it's fate
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.
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.
by Mark Westcott
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.
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.
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.
showing the ship some 12 years later maintained, but purely cosmetic.
for the want of funds it could have been up and running by now.
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!
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".
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.
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.
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.
project was generously funded by a grant from the from the South East
carpenters, Ron Little and Peter Side, depicted here working on the
second phase of the building of the paddle boxes.
photo shows the construction of the hardwood base being added to the
frame of one of them.
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
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
Morris MP, the Minister for Heritage & Culture, at a meeting with
a delegation from the Medway Queen Preservation Society at the Ministry
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.
Paddle boxs are seen here well on their way to completion.
this stage of the project, the new emblems had also been carved and
were awaiting painting
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.
of the newly carved emblems, painted and fixed to a paddle box front
for its "first fitting"
of one of the new paddle boxs as they are both nearing completion. The
photo does not do justice to the paddle boxs, they must be seen,
to appreciate the fantastic job that has been done by the members involved
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
Jonathan Shaw MP was also present, he is a great supporter of our
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)
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
ceremony took place at Chatham Historic Dockyard on the 30th June
vents have now been added to the funnel display at Chatham Historic
Made possible by the generous efforts of our GMB members.
this stage, seating remains to be added, which will be made from hardwood
by our own carpenters
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
display pictured here in its 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
and George Hawkes, also Joe Stokes maintaining the funnel, fiddly and
paddle-boxes on display in The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent.
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
Dunkirk Little Ships at
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
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.
such a struggle to preserve our heritage today?
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.
will do all we can to persevere until then.
a sad sight, if the powers to be had acted when we first asked, the
whole ship would have been saveable.
shame on them, when we had
worked for twenty odd years to save this Dunkirk veteran!
the keel and engine mounts left, but an inprint of the ship in the
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.
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.
a day, waited 20 odd years for this.
parts at 'Abel's ship yard, Bristol.
members had cleaned, and painted all that needed to be done at Chatham
parts to follow later, all will be assessed for restoration.
first part under construction, must be part of a 'Bulk Head' which
will be about six in number!
keel cannot be laid until the dock is free, hopefully in late spring
expect some delays, as first 'Riveted' ship built for many years,
and trades men are rare, that can use modern technique's.
electrical heating equipment to heat up the rivet, which is shown
in place, ready to go
heated up,ready to use.
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
bulk head being prepared, showing rivets.
these can be prepared with out the dock facility.
reverse side of a bulk head showing the frame work of angle irons.
up of first part of keel to be made
keel is to be made in sections, then assembled when dock is available
Keel now in dry dock, and rebuild starts.
Some of us have dreamed of this day, and now reality
work carries on at Damhead Creek.
The second stage is also in progress, with the rebuild of the Captains
to right: Les, Peter and Ron at work.
framework of the Captains Cabin now made, still lot more to do
the aft end bulkhead in position,Still the difficult rudder area to
install aft of this.
overall shot of the aft end of Medway Queen rebuild
from the webcam
25th May 2010,
coming alone slow but sure.
end, taken June 2010.
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!
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)
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.
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
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 .