Monday 24th June, 2019

Platinum Anniversary Celebrations for Balmoral – This Weekend

The flags will be flying, the ships siren will sound and the band will be playing as plans to restore the Pleasure ‘Steamer’ Balmoral to cruising – to and from Bristol, are announced during 2 days of celebrations to commemorate the platinum anniversary of the launch of famous ship this week.

On Saturday June 29th everyone is invited aboard Balmoral in Bristol City Docks from 11 am until 5 pm.  The whole event is completely free of charge, there will be visits to the Bridge and Engine Room, films will show the Paddle Steamers of Bristol’s magnificent White Funnel Fleet, Balmoral’s launching ceremony and many of the piers, ports and harbours visited by Balmoral around the Bristol Channel and many other areas of Britain’s coast and Islands.

Balmoral is on the National Register of Historic Ships, is British registered for up to 700 passengers and has sailed to, and from, no less than 185 ports and piers around Britain – believed to be more than any other ship in history.  Under the ownership of a registered charity, since 1986, restoration of Balmoral has included completely new engines.

Balmoral’s appearance at many great events have included the farewell departure from Britain of the magnificent Cunard liner Queen Mary, and sailing to the beaches of Dunkirk and Normandy on significant anniversaries.

On board this Saturday,  the band will be playing, souvenirs and refreshments will be on sale and every visitor can take home, completely free of charge, a book telling the heroic story of Britain’s Pleasure Steamers, and the men who manned them, during the first world war.  The book is published at £10 and on Saturday will be free.  Also free, will be several hundred copies of back numbers of Shipping and Steam Railway magazines, many of which must be collector’s items.  On display, and on sale, will be prints of magnificent paintings of Paddle Steamers by the famous marine artist, the late John Nicholson.

On Friday June 28th the celebrations will play host to representatives of the city’s towns and villages of the Bristol Channel which have benefited for many years from Balmoral’s sailings.  The ‘Welcome Aboard’ will be given by Bristol Alderman, Douglas Naysmith. Terry Sylvester, Former Chairman and Managing Director of Balmoral for over 20 years will speak on Balmoral’s Past, Present and Future and Chairman of the National Piers Society, Timothy Wardley will explain why ‘Piers need Pleasure Steamers, and Pleasure Steamers need Piers’.

Plans will be announced to restore trips to, and from, Bristol, Clevedon, Weston-Super-Mare, Watchet, Minehead, Illfracombe, Newport, Penarth, Barry, Porthcawl and Swansea.  Bristol Channel piers have been rebuilt, with substantial financial contributions from the public sector, at Clevedon, Penarth and Illfracombe and only by Balmoral returning to full time cruising can all this public investment continue to be of benefit to the businesses and communities of the Bristol Channel.

Balmoral can be found at Mardyke Wharf alongside Hotwell Road, opposite the SS Great Britain. Bristol Ferry Boats run to Mardyke Wharf from Bristol Temple Meads railway station, and the city centre on a regular basis.

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