The Steamboat Association
of Great Britain

to foster and encourage steam boating and the building, development, preservation and restoration of steam boats and steam machinery

to stimulate public interest
in steam boats
and steam boating

to promote high standards
of workmanship,
safety and seamanship


Topical notes about the SBA and the world of steamboats

  • 01 Jul 2013 12:14 | Deleted user

    The hull of PS Medway Queen is nearing completion in the Albion Dockyard, Bristol. The yard has built the first fully riveted hull to be constructed in the UK for over 50 years and this phase of the restoration is now drawing to a close. The rebuild was supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. To mark the end of this phase of the project a re-dedication ceremony will be held at the dockyard on Saturday 27th July. This represents an eagerly awaited milestone in the restoration and it is also a significant event for engineering in the UK.


    The Albion Dockyard (Hanover Place, Bristol BS1 6UT) is not far from the SS Great Britain, and will be open to the public from 12 noon on Saturday 27th July until approximately 5pm, admission free. A short re-dedication ceremony will be performed at approximately 2pm. After the usual speeches Evelyn, Emelia, and Elizabeth, daughters of Andrew Summerell (MD Albion Dockyard Ltd.), will re-dedicate the ship. The sluices will then be opened and flooding up of the dock will commence. This is a lengthy process and it is unlikely that the dock will be completely filled in the course of the afternoon. After the dedication it is hoped that members of the Medway Queen Preservation Society will be able to tour those parts of the ship that are safely accessible. All of these arrangements are subject to operational conditions at the yard remaining favourable of course. The weekend of the 27/28th July is also the Bristol Harbour Festival weekend, with a huge variety of interest and entertainment just a few minutes walk from the dockyard. Even more reason for coming to Bristol and wishing Medway Queen well.


    The ship will not be leaving the dry dock immediately. There is more work to be done in preparation for the tow and then the tug has to be available and the weather outlook acceptable. When these conditions are all met the ship will be moved without further ceremony. Predicting exactly when this will happen is not possible but the MQPS website ( has a page dedicated to the “tow home” and details will be posted there as they become clear.


    It is intended that the ship’s arrival in Gillingham will also be marked in a suitable way but notice for this will be very short. The fitting out phase, supported by the EU Interreg IVA program under the "Heroes of the Two Seas" project, will then commence in earnest. As another of the series of events centred on the tow home the society’s Gillingham Pier workshops will be open to society members and to the public on all 4 days of the Heritage Open Days weekend of 12-15 September.

  • 18 Jun 2013 19:17 | Deleted user

    The summer edition of  "The Funnel" magazine has been landing on the door mats of SBA members recently.

    This edition includes a wide variety of articles including information on historic steamboats, technical articles and members reports of their boat building projects - one of which is available for non-members to download to get a taste of what the magazine is like.

    If you like what you read why not join the SBA?
  • 15 Jun 2013 22:36 | Anonymous member
    Please note that the correct date for the Malvern week end is
     29th/30th Nov/1st Dec and not as listed in the latest FUNNEL.

    These dates may be extended before and after the weekend at the same special rate at the Abbey Hotel.
    Please note that  extra days need to be booked and paid for by members directly with the hotel.

    Members who have already shown interest will be contacted during August and a non returnable deposit will be requested at that time.

    There are still a few rooms available, if you are interested please contact Richard Havard as soon as possible.
  • 13 Jun 2013 13:20 | Anonymous member
    Please note that due to navigation problems at Pembroke this event will not now take place this year. Once these problems have be resolved by the local authority a visit to Pembroke by water may well take place next year.
  • 13 Jun 2013 12:29 | Deleted user

    Congratulations go to SBA member John Tilley for winning the Trophy for the most innovative entry in Watercraft Magazine's Cordless Canoe Challenge held at this years Beale Park Boat Show. 


    John's entry Whimsy is a boat  that doubles as a motor bike sidecar. You can watch Whimsy in action in the following video:



  • 09 Jun 2013 22:34 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Details of the 2013 Windermere Rally have been posted in the events section of the website.  The Rally dates are 11-16 August.  You can now register online and download the full registration form.
  • 07 Jun 2013 20:11 | Deleted user
    Members may have noticed that pages 7 & 8 and 73 & 74 of the latest edition of the Funnel magazine were missing due to a printing error.  We are grateful to the printers for reprinting this edition of the magazine which will be sent to members shortly.
  • 04 Jun 2013 17:56 | Deleted user

    The aims of The Maritime Heritage Trust are to represent and promote the interests and operators of traditional and historic vessels at all levels of government and also to increase public interest and support for maritime heritage, which in turn will raise awareness of its cultural importance and have wider benefits for economic drivers such as employment, education and tourism.

    Their spring 2013 newsletter includes articles on paddle steamers Kingswear Castle, the Medway Queen and much more and can be downloaded here.

    For more information on Maritime Heritage Trust visit their website
  • 30 May 2013 19:34 | Deleted user

    The Windermere Steamboat Museum is regarded by steamboaters not just in England but the world over as something of a spiritual home! George Pattinson’s legacy has been for many years a centre for rallies, steamboating activity and inspiring people to join the SBA.
    Since being taken over by the Lakeland Arts Trust, a great deal of work has gone into planning and conservation of the resources at the Bowness-on-Windermere site which could reopen in 2015.
    The last 18 months has seen development of extensive plans for the new museum including a 10 year conservation programme. Planning has included activities to be offered and the development of the stories to be told in the exhibition spaces.
    The ‘visitor experience’ is at the heart of the project, which means there must be easy access for everybody to the whole collection and the various connected storylines presented by the exhibits. The challenge is to provide interpretations of exhibits layered for visitors of different ages and learning abilities while still retaining the fascination for those with a specialist interest.
    Displays will explore themes touching, for example, on early tourism and the appeal of Windermere and how the lake was a source of income for those who fished or built boats. There will be a section called ‘Life at Speed’ charting racing on the lake from 19th century through to the 1980s.
    A great deal of work has gone into finding means of helping visitors engage with the historic boats, connecting human stories to the heritage. Envisaged are workshops for schools, interpreters to bring boating characters alive, regular clubs for younger people – for example ‘Water Babies’ and ‘Young Otters’ clubs. For older people there will be programmes of talks, lectures and performances as well as community engagement projects focused on a particular boats or story. The possibilities are endless and Charlotte Upton of the Lakeland Arts Trust sounds excited as she describes it all!
    The conservation management plan is highly significant given the centrality of the Windermere boat collection to all that the SBA holds most dear. Prepared in great detail for the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) it reaches forward to 2024, ensuring that each boat has been assessed on criteria including originality, condition and its place in history. Boats have been categorised against one of six conservation methodologies developed from a comprehensive study of current best practice. The conservation team has made a great deal of progress and indeed SL ‘Osprey’ is already restored for operational use.
    The planning application for the new museum buildings has been submitted and a decision is expected soon while a second application to the HLF was submitted in March this year for a confirmed award of £9m. The project is marching on...

    …but funding has to be secured to make it all happen!

    The campaign to raise match funding to support the HLF grant has been incredibly successful and the Lakeland Arts Trust has raised £2.9m to date. A further £500,000 is needed to reach the target and so all donations are welcome to support this important project.

    Donations are very warmly welcomed and should be sent marked clearly for the Steamboat Museum Project c/o Charlotte Upton, Blackwell, the Arts & Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria LA23 3JT

    For more information visit the museum's website.

  • 19 May 2013 18:54 | Deleted user
    The latest edition of the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) South East Region Newsletter, Cargoes - Summer 2013 is now available. 

    It includes numerous articles of news from various parts of the canal network. 

    This edition and back issues can be downloaded from the IWA website here.

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