Photos: The Medway Queen in Ramsgate

Medway Queen in Ramsgate Photo Frank Leppard

The Medway Queen paddle steamer arrived in Ramsgate yesterday (July 18) and will wait at harbour until  being taken on the 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.

Photo Mark Stanford

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. The ship’s crew estimated that they evacuated 7,000 men while shooting down three Axis aircraft.

Photo Steven Collis

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.

Photo Ian Shacklock

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.

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She is expected to go on the slipway on Thursday and will remain in Ramsgate until mid/late August.

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

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