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Paddle Steamers past and present
PRESERVED PADDLE STEAMERS IN USE AS MARITIME MUSEUM EXHIBITS WITH PUBLIC ACCESS
Paddle Steamers are not natural museum exhibits. Generally there is not much to see apart from the engines and often no significant or heroic story to tell. Those which survive are listed below
With engines in situ
The prospects for Wingfield Castle, also a Hull - New Holland ferry, seemed bleak as she was towed around the British coastline in failed plans to make her the centre-piece of Marina developments first at Brighton and then at Swansea. Purchased by the town of Hartlepool and taken back to her birthplace, she was restored by master craftsmen to become part of the north-eastern town's municipal museum.
The former KD Rhein paddler serves as a floating industrial museum on the River Neckar at Mannheim near the Kurpfalzbrucke . Built in 1929 and operational until 1980, she was disposed of from the KD reserve fleet in 1984 and opened in her new use in 1986. Her machinery remains intact
The former Elbe paddler (ex Habsburg of 1897) and close sister to Schmilka, Junger Pionier and Pirna, was withdrawn in 1976 and taken out of the water at Oderburg and used as a museum.
Close to the Chain Bridge (Szechenyi lanchid) on the Pest side of Budapest, Hungary, Kossuth (1914-78) , serves from Spring to Autumn as a bar/restaurant, with maritime museum exhibits on the lower decks. She emerged after substantial reconstruction in 1953 named Kossuth, having carried three previous names, being built in 1914 as Ferencz Ferdinand Foherczeg. She assumed her current role in 1986 and is now owned by a museum organisation with the restaurant operated privately. In 2008 she was extensively refurbished, including considerable attention to her hull.
A former naval tug, she has been maintained in working condition in the ownership of the city of Tulcea since 2003 and has been reboilered (to burn oil rather than coal) and in 2008 was listed as a national cultural heritage "monument". She is maintained in operational condition but it is understood that these are now halted on account of the condition of the boiler.
Built in 1887 by Tyumen factury at Kurbatova for businessman Alexander Sibiryakov, it had the distinction of carrying crown prince Nicholas (later the last Tsar) in 1891 and then, communist agitator V.I. Lenin into exile in 1897. 56.2 m x 8,25 m in dimension. In 1927 she was concerted to an oil barge and laid up in 1960. She now lies as a museum ship at Krasnoyarsk, the point deep in Siberia to where Lenin was taken over 100 years ago. The ship has now been taken out of the river Yenisey, but lies only feet from the waters on which she once sailed. She is open to the public for a small entry fee.
In 2011, the laid-up paddle steamer Vysehrad (I) whose name is now used by an operational paddler in the same location, was moved to central Prague from her upstream berth for use as temporary exhibition space. She is listed in the "laid Up Steamers" section of this database
With engines removed
When the city of Luzern was establishing its now famous transport museum, the "Verkehrshaus", it was decided to use the derelict paddler Rigi (1848-1952) as an exhibit in the central courtyard. Dragged over a short piece of land, the spartan vessel was the centre-piece of the courtyard cafeteria from 1958 until 2006. She is now rebuilt to approximate her original appearance and has return to being a major exhibit. Earlier hopes of returning her to service as a real "vintage" steamer were ruled out after serious consideration. Her oscillating engines are on display separately in one of the museum's exhibition halls
PRESERVED PADDLERS IN COMMERCIAL ROLES WITH PUBLIC ACCESS
Private restaurants would seem to be the best hope for decommissioned
paddle steamers as these are reasonably common, particularly in the big cities
along the major rivers of Europe. Close access to the SGV dockyard on Lake Lucerne
where she was maintained throughout her life, allows PS Wilhelm Tell to be maintained
in top condition and she has not been allowed to degenerate in increasingly
desperate ways of generating income. Tattershall Castle on the other hand has
sold its soul to the drinker and night club reveller - and been almost totally
transformed to make her fit for her new purpose, but less like her original
self. Her prime position in central London has at least led to her being a money-spinner.
Floating bars elsewhere in the UK have proven to be less successful........
PS Maid of the Loch at Balloch, Scotland, whilst open as a cafe and function centre, is being re-fitted for a return to service so is listed in the "Reactivation Projects" section of the database. Click here to see details of this ship
With engines in-situ
Unexpectedly withdrawn from service in 1970, Wilhelm Tell of 1908 was quickly established as a restuarant ship and has become an integral feature of the waterfront at her home port, Lucerne in Switzerland.
Neuchatel's sister ship Fribourg (1913-1965) is used as a restaurant in the nearby inland town of Portalban.
The former Lake Maggiore paddler serves as a floating restaurant at Arona, where she has been moored since 1969. She served on the lake from 1908 until 1958 and was first used as a restaurant at Baveno.
PRESERVED PADDLERS, PRIVATELY
OWNED, WITH RESTRICTED PUBLIC ACCESS
Paddle Steamers have found other uses - as hotels or youth hostels, drop-in-centres, conference venues and club houses. Uses can be many and varied, but the costs of maintaining a ship can be high, and without regular maintenance, the fabric of the ship can deteriorate.
Steamers with engines in-situ
This former Russian river Volga paddle steamer, built in 1903, has
been restored to act as a good-quality hotel moored on the Buda
side of the Danube in the northers suburbs of Budapest, having been
bought by the MINOL company in 2005. Originally called "Grand
Duke Alexander Mihkailovich", she became "Kharkov"
in 1917. In 1924 she became "Pamjaty Tovaritscha Azina".
In 1950 it was substantially rebuilt and became "Pamjaty
Azina". Withdrawn in 1991 it is believed to have
been bought for use in Albania but this never materialised.
Note : offered for sale in 2013 at EUR 3m : http://www.apolloduck.com/display.phtml?aid=297054
Became a popular bar / cafe, moored on the Danube Canal at Vienna (Wien), Austria, but has been out of use for many years and is in increasingly poor and vandalised condition
Andechs (1907-1955) is preserved as a floating yacht club clubhouse at Utting on her home lake, Ammersee in Bavaria.
The former Southampton-Isle of Wight (England) paddler of 1927 was moved to Dunkerque on the northern French coast after being moved from her berth at Paris where she served as a floating art gallery and conference centre at Pont Mirabeau.
MOTOR PADDLE VESSELS
Motor Paddle Vessel (ex-Steamer) : Motor is situ
Still able to move under her own
power if needed
Renowned as the first major paddle steamer to be converted to diesel operation back in 1934 at the age of 38, the ship continued to serve on Lake Geneva for a further 39 years. She has served for many years as cultural and social centre for disadvantaged youth at Geneva. A major renovation is taking place at her usual quay in Geneva during 2011-2012
Built as motor paddlers
Sister ship of Poppelmann and named "Friedrich Engels" until 1991, she is renovated and used by the CVJM (YMCA in English) as a youth hostel at Dresden-Neustadt
preserved side-wheelers in the
rest of the world, click here
PRESERVED PADDLE TUGS
(including those with secure futures and those "at risk")
no side-wheel steam* paddle tugs remain in operation, a remarkable number of these
"working" boats survive. Closely linked with local trade and industry,they
are poular candidates for preservation. Their generally smaller size helps to
minimise the cost, but their public appeal is surely more limited than for a
* A number of motor powered side-wheel paddle tugs are believed to be in operation in Russia and the Ukraine
Click Here for more details of preserved paddle tugs
Paddle Steamer Reactivation Projects
Laid up Steamers
Statically Preserved Paddle Steamers
Paddle Steamers Under Construction
Lost Paddle Steamers
Paddle Steamers of the past
Paddle Steamer Engines
British Paddle Steamer Index