Making the most of ALBION DRY DOCK

As reported previously (*) Heritage Fund’s grant for our project “Save MV Balmoral for Bristol and Beyond” is including work to ensure that Balmoral’s hull is sound.

Progress continues in the historic Albion Dock, where visitors to SS Great Britain can see Balmoral nearby, with our interpretation panels and occasionally a volunteer to explain.  Bal’s stern view is visible from the external public path at the land end of the dry dock. Our authorised quota of volunteers, in helmets and hi-vis, are able to make good progress there with their work on board Balmoral.

The dockyard team is getting on with the heavy engineering: having been removed, the through-hull fittings (inscribed with 29th December 1948 dates) are now refurbished and tested. Damaged or thinned areas of hull have had new steel replacement.  Those are all but finished, but lengths of doubled plates – where their condition couldn’t otherwise be examined – have to be near-completed one at a time. Together with safety gear, constant vigilance and the highest standards, this makes for a lengthy process. Then there’s new and refurbished fittings to attach, final preparation and finishing to do….

So the date of coming out can’t yet be announced. But then, after Balmoral’s been spruced up inside as well, we’ll be holding her celebrations – Tom’s elegant 75th Anniversary pennant is ready and waiting.

In the meantime, many thanks to Waverley Excursions for their comradely generosity, encouraging Balmoral’s volunteers to sail on Paddle Steamer Waverley in the Bristol Channel. Her management nominated us a special day, when we flew the pennant and distributed information about our own lovely ship. And reminded ourselves of the meaning of “sea-legs”!

More detail will be forthcoming on the activities begun and events planned for the project. We’re grateful to Bristol Cruising Club allowing their historic barge Sabrina, next to Redcliffe Bascule Bridge, for initial use as an venue. In July, project partner MyFutureMyChoice, leading community events on the water for Bristol’s Harbour Festival, will use Balmoral as home base. https://www.bristolharbourfestival.co.uk

Balmoral’s open days and Music Nights will be regular dates, but also – expect the unexpected!
Pending general refreshment of this website, please – check out the events and a great series of photographs of volunteers in action on Balmoral’s Facebook page. (click this link, click x if you don’t want an account, and take a look…)

(* The National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded £248,318 for MV Balmoral Fund’s project to bring a wider range of people to the heritage. Thanks to National Lottery players this is a tribute to hard work put in by volunteers, partners and trustees since the ship last sailed. With support from loyal donors we have, together, kept our ship maintained, actively alive and welcoming as a visible, well-used asset to Bristol and its heritage harbour. 

The grant covers funding that will allow us to increase Balmoral’s use and interest for people and events; in inspiring education and in reaching less advantaged communities. Still to come is consultancy help to assist in updating the effectiveness of the charity and support for the volunteers – so important to the management of preserving this wonderful ship – and boosting enthusiasm and potential investment for her future. )

Can You Support Us?

DONATIONS WILL HELP US TO MATCH-FUND THE GRANT. YOUR HELP COULD EVEN BROADEN THE WORK WE CAN ACHIEVE WHILST BALMORAL’S IN THE DRY-DOCK.

Ways of donating / information on Gift Aid etc are described on our secure website page for donations.

MV Balmoral in Dry Dock
Balmoral in the Menai Strait
Nigel Coombes Balmoral Fund President
MV Balmoral at Bristol M Shed
Tour aboard MV Balmoral

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