Steam enthusiasts are being given the rare opportunity to have a look on board the historic SS Shieldhall, the largest steamship of her type in Europe, at A&P Falmouth on Friday (May 16).
The majestic ship, which is based in Southampton, has been in Falmouth for the past five weeks undergoing major work to extend its life for another 25 years.
Now work is complete, members of the public are being given the chance to tour the SS Shieldhall between 2pm and 5pm on Friday at Falmouth Docks.
Peter Child, Managing Director of A&P Falmouth, said: “We are delighted to welcome members of the public to A&P Falmouth and on board Shieldhall. She has very strong ties with Falmouth and we are pleased to celebrate the continuing success of the partnership and Shieldhall’s confidence in A&P Falmouth to carry out the work.
“Once again we have proved we provide excellent value for money and a high standard of workmanship and skills. We look forward to seeing as many people as possible on Friday.”
A&P Falmouth, the internationally-renowned ship repair company and part of A&P Group, won contract with the SS Shieldhall against stiff competition from other shipyards and cements A&P’s reputation for excellence and efficiency.
It also highlights the company’s long-term partnering relationship with the SS Shieldhall and local suppliers like Shield Marine based in the yard – and the importance of repeat business to A&P.
A&P Falmouth undertook major hull repair and modification work in dry dock, which was funded by a £1.4 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
A heritage cargo-passenger ship, included in the National Historic Fleet, Shieldhall was built and launched on the Clyde in 1955, to a classic pre-WW2 design. She had a long and successful first career with Glasgow Corporation – year round, carrying treated sludge out to sea and, in the summer, taking passengers on pleasure trips. Bought in 1977 by Southern Water she was finally withdrawn from commercial service in 1985 – but saved and purchased for £20,000 in 1988 by the charity that still operates her now.
Today the 2,000 tonne Shieldhall is a unique seagoing ‘time capsule’. She provides a working example of steamship machinery both above and below deck, typical of the cargo and passenger ships that plied the oceans of the world between the 1870s and 1960s, after which they became all but extinct. Whilst other heritage ships are held permanently in dry dock, Shieldhall remains active, with a cruise programme that allows passengers to access the engine room with its two impressive 800HP steam engines at work and the bridge, complete with traditional instruments and gleaming brasswork. The hull repairs to be undertaken by A&P will mean Shieldhall will gain a fully certified UK Class III Certificate enabling her to take a ‘conservation in action’ message beyond her Solent base. Shieldhall’s 2014 sailing dates are listed at www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk