Medway Queen Ship docks at Ramsgate, outside the Royal Victoria Pavilion Wetherspoon
A historic ship docked at Ramsgate next to the country’s largest Wetherspoon pub before crucial restoration work.
The Medway Queen, which saved 7,000 men from Dunkirk during World War II, is due to undergo a £ 30,000 renovation at the Royal Harbor in Ramsgate.
Having left its base at Gillingham Pier this morning, photos of the paddle steamer were sent to KentOnline on Sunday morning by photographer Jason Arthur.
It is the largest ship the port has hosted in years and those enjoying a day out on the main sands of the city were in a prime position to watch the steamboat arrive.
Diners and drinkers sitting on the terrace of the Royal Victoria Pavilion Wetherspoon’s will have the best view of the boat’s four week restoration on the slipway.
Pam Bathurst, managing director of the Medway Queen Preservation Society, said restoration work was essential before the ship left.
“She will really dominate the Wetherspoon because she is such a size. The funnel is very big,” she said.
“This will be the biggest ship this slipway, and Ramsgate, has seen in years.
“Work is essential to help restore her to her former glory and repairs are badly needed. She is such an important piece of history and we have to take care of her or she will deteriorate.
“She will look so big with a full repaint because she currently looks tired.
“We’ll open it to the public on Saturday, and potentially Sunday as well.”
After the four-week project at Ramsgate, the ship will return to its traditional base at Medway.
The Medway Queen has been hailed as “the heroine of Dunkirk” for her vital role in rescuing 7,000 Allied soldiers from the beaches of northern France during World War II.
After the war it was redeveloped for civilian use and became a floating disco off the Isle of Wight, and also made pleasure trips to Southend and along the Kent coast.
After sustaining damage to her hull, she was towed to the River Medway on a pontoon, where she fell into disrepair.
The Preservation Society was formed in 1985 with an ambitious long-term mission to make repairs, and through tireless fundraising efforts, vital work has been done on the ship.
A grant of £ 1.8million was eventually secured from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to rebuild the ship’s hull and she spent years in Bristol while repairs were being made.
The trip to Ramsgate for extensive work has been scheduled for two years, and many areas of the paddle steamer are expected to receive refurbishment, including the paddle wheels, hull and installation of new handrails.
Read more: All the latest news from Ramsgate
Read more: All the latest news from Medway