Tag Archives: Little Ships

PS Medway Queen updates

August Update

Posted in Shipyard Blog

A lot has happened this August, the ship is coming along nicely, and is continually making better progress.

At Bristol, the engine room has been shot blasted and painted, and the main Cylinder block, the Condenser, the Edwards air pump, the Hotwell tank and all A frames and connecting rods that connect to Cylinder block to the A frames where the slide valves are located. The smaller machinery and small tanks have already been installed prior to the shot blasting of the Engine Room.

There was a little flurry of activity on Twitter earlier from the Medway Queen Preservation Society’s feed. They’re getting excited because the restoration is steaming along nicely. I think they’re hoping to get the restored hull back from the dry dock in Bristol very soon, so that refitting can be undertaken at the Gillingham Dock base.

I hope I will be able to get out and see the Queen come back to her home port. The story of her salvage and restoration has been long, sometimes painful, but uplifting at the same time.

Visit the Medway Queen Preservation Society web site for updates on the paddle steamer’s progress.

Related: “One of the Small Ships” / “EU funding threatens Medway Queen restoration”

Forgotten, but not gone

With the news the Cutty Sark restoration has been completed and the ship is to reopen to the public later this week, I wondered what had happened to another restoration project that has been ongoing since the 1980s. 

I mean the restoration of the Dunkirk “Little Ship” Medway Queen. Earlier this year, the project was in some doubt due to problems with the funding, as I linked and blogged about at the time. Happily, the problems have been resolved and work has resumed on the ship.

April 2012. 

It seems that the EU funding suspension for our project as at long last been lifted by the EU commission, not after causing many money worries re paying apprentices and their training staff. Hopefully all unpaid back payments as well as funds due will now be paid to the society!

In the time being work still carries on at Bristol, albeit rather slow of late, the bow section is basically complete, but the aft end seems to drag on, reluctance to rivet plate maybe because most will have to be done by old method by hand, as their “auto riveters” will possibly not reach most angles it seems!


The story of the rescue and restoration of this humble paddle steamer is one of tenacity and heartache. Reading through the captions accompanying the gallery on the Society’s unofficial web site, it really does beggar belief that it has taken so long and so much voluntary hard work to save part of the UK’s maritime heritage. 

Here’s a link to the official Medway Queen Preservation Society web site.


BBC News – EU funding threatens Medway Queen restoration

The restoration of a paddle steamer which rescued Allied troops during the Dunkirk evacuations is under threat after European funding was suspended.

The Medway Queen took more than 7,000 men from beaches in Normandy in 1940.

Restoration work began last year with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.

The government said administrative errors had led to the suspension of EU funding and it was working to get payments released.

Restoration work on the ship’s hull began in Bristol last April with money from a £1.86m Heritage Lottery Grant.

For this project to founder would be an enormous shame, made worse by not being the fault of the project itself. I only hope some rich benefactor might step in to help if the funding problem isn’t sorted out in time.