The Medway Queen has been transferred to the slipway for repair works

Medway Queen Photo Frank Leppard

The Medway Queen paddle steamer, which arrived in Ramsgate on July 18, has finally been moved on the slipway for hull maintenance and painting.

The delay was due to a wait for yacht Te Vega to be moved. That vessel has a very deep draft which needed a high tide of at least five metres before she could be transferred safely off the slipway.

Photo Ian Shacklock

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

She 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.

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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.

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