Steamship returns to Falmouth for hull repair
One of the largest steamships of her type in Europe is to return to Falmouth after a renowned ship repair firm secured a major repair contract.
The SS Shieldhall, which is based in Southampton, will head to the Cornish port for a major hull repair conducted by A&P Falmouth.
The modification work, which is set to begin at Falmouth Dry Dock next April, is being funded by a £1.4 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
It is expected it will extend the life of the historic steamship for another 25 years.
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Graham Mackenzie, marketing director of Solent Steam Packet, said: "We are delighted to be coming back to A&P Falmouth. If someone had asked where we would really like the work to be done then we would have said with A&P, because of our previous experience, but for this contract, best value was the overriding consideration.
"Work on a heritage ship such as ours is quite special and it's not the sort of job any shipyard can do, it has to be sympathetic to what we are trying to do. A&P really is a trusted name for us."
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-Second World War 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Bought in 1977 by Southern Water, she was finally withdrawn from commercial service in 1985 – but saved and purchased for £20,000 in 1988 by the charity that still operates her now.
Peter Child, managing director of A&P Falmouth, said: "This is a significant contract for us and we are delighted to be working with Shieldhall once again. She has strong ties with Falmouth and we are pleased to celebrate the continuing success of the partnership and Shieldhall's confidence in A&P Falmouth."