Paddle Steamer Medway Queen Then and Now

The Medway Queen Preservation Society held open days for their members and for the general public on Saturday and Sunday 26 and 27th April at their base inGillingham, Kent. Here are a few "then and now" pictures taken over that weekend and during the Medway Queen's distinguished career.

At Binfield on the Isle of Wight in 1966 and at Gillingham in 2014.


At Clacton in 1960 and at Gillingham in 2014.


On deck with rain in 1961 and with rain 2014.

Looking aft with the wheel for the bow rudder in the foreground then and now. On the ship's plans the deckhouse under the bridge is designated the "Captain's Cabin and Chart Room"


The aft saloon then and now. Note the oil lamp between the windows in the upper picture and the time the picture was taken: 2.50pm on the clock. This means that we are between lunch and high tea and, looking at Medway Queen's post war summer schedules, this either puts us alongside at Southend where she arrived at 2.15pm and departed at 3.15pm on her Herne Bay days or on a cruise 2.45pm to 4.15pm from Clacton into the River Blackwater on her Clacton runs or alongside at Strood 1.10pm to 3.30pm on a Saturday in her later years when she operated two round trips from Strood 9.30am and 3.30pm to Southend.


The forward saloon as fitted out when Medway Queen was a static restaurant and bar on the Isle of Wight and today.


The engine room then and now.


The Gillingham workshop April 2014 with various bits and bobs including a newly made paddle box fan venting and the wheel for the bow rudder.


The steam steering engine in the workshop. This was sited at the forward end of the engine room with the brass wheel and attached rod on the top of it continuing upwards to the bridge. When the helmsman turned the ship's wheel to port or to starboard the rod rotated with it starting the steering engine working one way or the other. This turned the cog and gearing, on the underside of the tray on which the engine sits, which hauled the steering chains connected to the rudder back aft.


The Medway Queen Preservation Society deserves enormous credit for having taken the project this far and for having achieved so much. But there is still some way to go and funding to be sourced before the job can be completed as this picture of an empty boiler room shows. I am sure that everyone wishes them all well for the next stage and onwards towards a successful conclusion to a job well done.


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