Appeal to save MV Balmoral: Bristol’s last ship

Campaigners have raised £70,000 so far in their attempt to save the MV Balmoral, currently moored outside the M-Shed, from the scrap heap

MV Balmoral moored outside M Shed

MV Balmoral moored outside M Shed

Campaigners have raised £70,000 so far in their attempt to save the last sea-going ship built in Bristol from the scrap heap.

Moored outside the M-Shed, the MV Balmoral excursion ship has been plying the British coast since it was built in 1949.

Since 1986 it has been the sister ship to the famous paddle steamer the Waverley taking tourists along the North Somerset coast.

However, it has not sailed this year and urgently needs a £350,000 refit. Campaigners say that without this urgent work, the ship will not receive a new safety certificate – due for next August. If it fails to get a new certificate, it is likely the ship will never sail again.

Speaking to members of the Bristol Civic Society, who were invited to an exclusive tour around the ship at the weekend, Dave Bassett from the MV Balmoral strategy group said the Balmoral was a “Bristol ship, and something the city can be really proud of”.

“This is Bristol’s ship, it is registered here, and it is the last big ship registered in Bristol to sail. If Balmoral ceases trading, we have lost the ability to travel from place to place along the coast,” he said.

The ship, which when it was launched in 1949 was the flagship of Red Funnel Steamers, needs to go through some 2,000 safety checks. Meanwhile, the generators on board are in urgent need of being replaced at a cost of up to £100,000.

The MV Balmoral Fund team is hoping to raise some money from on-board events over Christmas and the coming months. Volunteers are already working to refurbish the ship, while Bristol City Council is providing the city centre berth for free, plus free electricity.

Nic James, chairman of Waverley Steam Navigation, said the fact that the Waverley was Bristol’s last sea-going ship was a “sobering thought, considering the city’s maritime tradition”.

“There were hundreds of ships like Balmoral plying the coast years ago, offering day trips along the coast,” he said.

“Ships like this is the only way the ordinary person can see the coast of this country, unless you have your own yacht or are a strong swimmer.”

To find out more about the MV Balmoral, to donate and/or to book your event or Christmas party on board, visit

MV Balmoral engine room

MV Balmoral engine room

MV Balmoral engine

MV Balmoral engine

MV Balmoral crew cabin

MV Balmoral crew cabin

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Today's news and features
Guide to Record Store Day 2014 in Bristol

It's back with a bang this year - here's our guide to what's going down for #RSD14 (Read more...)

To love Bristol is to protect its history

Love means protecting and cherishing. If you don't see any value in doing that for your city, you may as well tell your wife to get a face transplant (Read more...)

Banksy in Bristol: Artwork could go on display over Easter

The new Banksy artwork which appeared in Bristol this week could go on show over the Easter weekend at the City Museum and Art Gallery (Read more...)

Banksy in Bristol: War of words over ownership of new artwork

George Ferguson has said he wants the new Banksy to benefit local youth club and the whole city, as a row broke out over who owns now world-famous art(Read more...)

Bristol to host May Day tribute event for Tony Benn

Bristolians will have the chance to pay a tribute to former city MP and Labour Party giant Tony Benn at a May Day memorial event (Read more...)

Five best motoring magazines to read

If you spend every waking moment thinking about exhausts, paint jobs and AA Cars, then consider a subscription to one of many popular motoring magazin(Read more...)

Sign up for the Bristol24-7 newsletter

By signing up, you will receive access to news and special offers

It's quick and easy to join... just fill in the form below. Thank you!

Your Name*

Your Email*

Your Postcode area (BS1, BS2 etc)*

What are you most interested in? (You can choose more than one!)*
What's On Food and Drink Business Motoring Travel Special offers 

Bristol247 newsletter