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Thread: A very sad old severn princess

  1. #1
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    Default A very sad old severn princess


    The Severn Princess.
    Lying forlornly on the mud banks at Chepstow is a little piece of British history. The Severn Princess was a car ferry built especially for use on the River Severn and plied her trade from Beachley on the Welsh side to Aust on the English side of the river.……
    She was one of a fleet of three owned and operated by a family from Chepstow who for many years had the royal charter to operate the ferry…….Also in the fleet was the Severn King and the Severn Queen and the Princess was the last addition to the once proud family and was delivered in 1960. There were some subtle differences between the three vessels but their basic construction and design was the same……..A shallow draft was necessary to enable the ferries to work in the ebb and flow of the Severn where to maintain a reasonable service the boats needed to be able to work in the sparse water available at either ends of the famous Severn tides (it’s the 2nd highest rise / fall of any river in the world so I am told)…………There was a ramp either side of the boat that would be lowered to enable the cars and vans to get on and off and also to facilitate easier manoeuvring of the vehicles each vessel had a turn table in the middle of the deck……..Power was supplied by diesel engines fitted below the cabin / bridge that was situated to the rear of each vessel….There was no passenger accommodation for the drivers of the cars, they either stayed sat in the cars or just stood on the deck whatever the weather happened to be doing!......The ferry service was for many years the only ‘quick’ link if you were travelling from Wales to London or vice versa of course! In those days it must have knocked hours off the journey……..
    Many famous folk used the ferry over the years and probably the most famous was Bob Dylan. Whilst on his 1965 (I think?...) tour of the UK a very famous photo of Bob looking very pissed off and huddled up in his coat was taken whilst he stood on the slipway at Beachley waiting for the ferry to pick him up……….
    The end for the ferry company came when the first Severn Road Bridge was opened in 1966 and the company was apparently paid compensation by the government for the loss of their livelihood…
    The King ended his days as a demolition boat and due to an accident whilst taking down the old Severn Railway Bridge was subsequently scrapped….The Queen languished for many years in Bristol Harbour before she too was cut up and The Princess was sold to work in Ireland…..After many years hard graft over there she was due to be scrapped but was bought for the sum of 1.05 (!!) and returned to the UK for restoration … Unfortunately due to many unforeseen problems since her ‘rescue’ in 1999 the task now seems unachievable and she has deteriorated into a really terrible state ……it looks as if the cutters lamp is now inevitable which will be a very sad end to a lovely little ship with an intriguing history………




    down into the engine room

    no engines though….

    deck winch..


    and finally…..Glory days……


    Last edited by smiffy; 31st Jul 08 at 15:01.

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    Thanks given by: flyboys90, trouble

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  3. #2
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    blimey I didn't know any of the old Aust ferries still existed, thanks for posting that.

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  4. #3
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    Nice photos dude, if you like the ship theme there is a wrecking yard a bit further up the river in Newham I took, Krela, Bishop and Norman there a few years ago. They have some nice boats there and sometimes they are there cutting them up. There is a lot of industrial machinery going to rust as well which makes good work for photos.

    S
    If There Is A Ladder Climb It,
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  5. #4
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    It's a shame when things are left abandoned like this. I worked for a while on a fishing trawler and when it was decommissioned the government couldn't wait to cut it up and scrap it.

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  6. #5
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    been meeing to go take a look at that for ages cheers for posting the pics

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  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheep2405 View Post
    Nice photos dude, if you like the ship theme there is a wrecking yard a bit further up the river in Newham I took, Krela, Bishop and Norman there a few years ago. They have some nice boats there and sometimes they are there cutting them up. There is a lot of industrial machinery going to rust as well which makes good work for photos.

    S
    Yeah know the yard well mate :)... good ol' Fred Larkhams place... He's a real expert on the River Severn and has worked it in some manner or other since he was a lad..a real old character....what Fred doesn't know about the Severn probably ain't worth knowing....I had a mate that crewed with Fred doing maintenance , demolition , salvage etc up and down the estuary wherever they were called for...he had some great stories to tell of Freds various antics.....cheers anyways !!:)

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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by smiffy View Post
    Yeah know the yard well mate :)... good ol' Fred Larkhams place... He's a real expert on the River Severn and has worked it in some manner or other since he was a lad..a real old character....what Fred doesn't know about the Severn probably ain't worth knowing....I had a mate that crewed with Fred doing maintenance , demolition , salvage etc up and down the estuary wherever they were called for...he had some great stories to tell of Freds various antics.....cheers anyways !!:)
    I visited Bullo Pill recently - is this the same place? Took a few pictures of an old boatyard. There was a deserted rubber mill nearby that i fancied taking a look at but i was being observed by a posse of eagle-eyed senior citizens so decided against it. Here's a couple of pics i took.



    Some days you wake and immediately start to worry. Nothing in particular is wrong, it's just the suspicion that forces are aligning quietly and there will be trouble

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  9. #8
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    Yep...thats Freds 'emporium' alright...... he's always got summat interesting lying there either that he's selling or cutting up or altering or mending etc...
    Cheers........I like the boat in the second pic too..looks a bit 'ex-lifeboat-ish' to me????????:)

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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by smiffy View Post
    Yep...thats Freds 'emporium' alright...... he's always got summat interesting lying there either that he's selling or cutting up or altering or mending etc...
    Cheers........I like the boat in the second pic too..looks a bit 'ex-lifeboat-ish' to me????????:)
    looking at the hull its an ex navy not lifeboat its a double diagonal hull so very strong and the same construction as the old rnli boats but the lack of tunnels for the props and lifting points to haul it back onto the slip kinda give it away

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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangerous dave View Post
    looking at the hull its an ex navy not lifeboat its a double diagonal hull so very strong and the same construction as the old rnli boats but the lack of tunnels for the props and lifting points to haul it back onto the slip kinda give it away
    Any stab at what it was ? summat like a fleet tender I 'spose?
    Looks as though with a bit of work she would make a lovely live aboard......bit of a fantasy of mine that is ....to live on a boat....I guess the reality is though that yer 'house' would need staggering amounts of money in maintenance spent every year and that it'd only go down in value anyways...plus the very real added risk of it 'going down' in actual terms leaving you with ...sweet bugger all...Well..... maybe you'd have a life jacket left....:) Someone once said that if I fancied owning a boat I should just go along to a local harbour and throw about a hundred quid into the water every week..............same result I guess.....

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