Paddle steamer The Medway Queen will be heading to Ramsgate for maintenance

The Medway Queen painting by Ian Boyd

By Dan Thompson

UPDATE: Arrival date is now earmarked for Thursday (July 15). We are told: ” “We are now looking at Thursday, when we HOPE to do everything in one, leave Gillingham early AM and get on the slipway on the PM high tide at Ramsgate.”

The Medway Queen website says: “The ship’s journey to Ramsgate has been delayed due to the slipway being in use and also the weather. The sun has now come out but the wind is too strong offshore for her to be towed down until either over this weekend or early next week.”

July – ship on Ramsgate slipway for maintenance. We plan to open to the public on the following Saturdays:
Saturday 17th July (Covid restrictions in force)
Saturday 24th July
Saturday 31st July
Possibly Saturday 7th August
Open from 11am to 5pm with last admissions at 4pm.
​Access will be from the East Pier, Ramsgate Harbour. CT11 8LS.
(Access may be limited or subject to change due to the work programme and other factors, admission fees apply)”

Keep updated at–contact.html

Historic paddle steamer The Medway Queen is making a  temporary move to Ramsgate for the summer, where the ship will be put on the harbour slipway for hull maintenance and painting.

This ship carried passengers on the Thames Estuary, took part in the Dunkirk evacuations, and became a swinging 1960s nightclub.

She is leaving Gillingham Pier during the high tide on Monday afternoon (July 12), before mooring out in the Medway Estuary over night and coming to Ramsgate during the morning of Tuesday July 13. The Medway Queen will go up onto the slipway on Tuesday afternoon during Ramsgate’s high tide (about 3pm).

The Medway Queen was launched in 1924 and entered service on Thames estuary routes in May of that year.

She was used as a minesweeper in World War II and is famous for her seven trips to Dunkirk in 1940. She brought men from the beaches back to both Dover and to Ramsgate.

After the war she returned to her old route until 1963. From 1966 until 1974 she was a nightclub in the Isle of Wight.

In 1984 the Medway Queen was brought back from the Isle of Wight to the Medway area by a group of local businessmen, headed by Jim Ashton, who intended to restore her.

In 2006, after many difficult years, a bid to the then Heritage Lottery Fund was successful and the hull has now been rebuilt. More recently, superstructures on the deck have been rebuilt.

To follow the ongoing restoration or become a supporter of the Medway Queen, visit


  1. How lovely that Ramsgate has been chosen to carry out the works on The Medway Queen, sure to be a crowd puller. I hope lots turn out to meet and greet her.

  2. Just to pour a little cold water on this, Medway Queen is effectively a new ship. She captures something of the spirit of the real vessel and has many of her fittings and machinery, but the hull is entirely modern.

    She will still be a point of interest and shows how the old slipways could be a valuable asset – shame TDC allowed the Fairmile Slips to be demolished…

    • I shall certainly go to see her, whatever it’s repair/new build is. As a young lad I remember travelling from Gillingham Pier to Southend on day trip with a mate. I have also donated to her rebuild in recent years and happy to do so. Some positive news.

    • All ships have replacement parts during their lifetime but that does not destroy the essence of the ship The Victory has had most of its hull replaced over the years but is it any the less the Victory? Will you refuse to go aboard just because plates have been replaced? You’ve grown up and your skin and features.will have changed but are you no longer you?

      • In the same vein thecsteam loco Flying Scotsman does not have a lot of original as built parts, but people still go potty over seeing it

  3. I am from the IOW and remember going to the Disco when the Medway Queen was on the river Medina, live in Ramsgate now so excited to see her again!

  4. What an interesting vessel, hope (paid) visits/tours will be possible during its stay in ramsgate.

    Hopefully tdc has not forgotten about their 2 monstrous pontoons that have been moored there for such a long time.

    Good to see the windfarmer crew transfer vessel hurricane tow being chartered by border force and renamed hurricane bf.

    The port & harbour could be used so much better, What next ?

    • If Tony Freudmann of RSP is to be believed, the port will be used by electric barges to transfer cargoes flown into Manston up the Thames to London.

  5. Hi,as a child l remember going on trips to Hernbay pier from the Sun pier Chatham with my perents, one time crossing the estuary to Southend pier, then back to Chatham looking at the black and picture of her just leaving the Sun pier with Rochester Cathedral in the back ground, l wondered if l could be in that picture! Ray 65 l wish l herd about her sailing to Ramsgate earlier wood have perchased a ticket, l can’t be leave it’s not a sell out! Need a good washer up galley type? I wish. Have a great trip, you lucky ones, see you at Ramsgate.

  6. People saying its not the same boat just because its been REPAIRED . Sour lot. Where’s your sense of nostalgia. Things have to be maintained. Trigger had the right idea lol.
    “Maintained it for 20 years. This old brooms had 17 new heads and 14 new handles in its time.”

  7. My wife and I travelled from Maidstone to Ramsgate to see the Medway Queen’s arrival this afternoon (as predicted) but it was not to be. The luxury yacht still occupied the slipway and we were told by others her journey had been delayed yet again, this time by the wind.

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