Sitting along Gillingham Pier in Kent is a reminder of a gentler bygone age; a paddle steamer named the Medway Queen. Launched in 1924 costing £21,500, this tough little boat has lived a remarkable life.
A very brief history: Originally built for pleasure sailings along the river Medway, its war years were spent evacuating children, then re-fitted and armed as a mine sweeper. 'She' also played an important part in Operation Dynamo, rescuing thousands of lives from the beaches of Dunkirk.
After peace was declared, the Medway Queen returned to excursion duties before being retired as night club and restaurant. Falling into disrepair in the 70s, three businessmen managed to salvage the boat with the Medway Queen Preservation Society being formed in 1985. The Society is now overseeing the restoration.
Although the boat is a working project, the wife and I spent a very informative time here with a knowledgeable, passionate and friendly guide. If you every get the chance please pop in. It would be great to see her back on the Medway.
Their website is: Medway Queen Preservation Society