HMS Belfast is one of London’s star tourist sites. But what are some of the other vessels moored in the Thames? In this series, we’re taking a look at the history behind 10 other vessels, starting with PS Tattershall Castle.
Now a floating restaurant moored off Victoria Embankment, the steam-driven, steel-hulled PS Tattershall Castle was constructed by the West Hartlepool-based company William Gray & Company as a ferry. Its name comes from a castle in Lincolnshire built in the first half of the 15th century/
Launched on 25th September, 1934, with a license to carry 1,000 people, the 209 foot-long ferry was one of three sister ships – the others being the PS Wingfield Castle (now a museum ship in Hartlepool) and the PS Lincoln Castle – which were built to transport passengers along the Humber between Kingston upon Hull, in Yorkshire, and New Holland, in Lincolnshire. It could make eight trips a day and could carry vehicles and livestock.
World War II broke out not long after her launch and the ferry was used to transport troops and supplies along the Humber. Due to the heavy fogs on the river, the Tattershall Castle became one of the first civilian vessels to be equipped with radar.
Following the war and the 1948 nationalisation of the railways, the PS Tattershall Castle became part of part of British Rail’s Sealink service. In 1973, the vessel, with repairs deemed too costly, was retired from service.
Subsequently towed to London, the PS Tattershall Castle was converted into a floating art gallery which was formally opened by the Lord Mayor of London on 27th February, 1975.
In 1981, the former ferry was acquired by the Chef & Brewer Group. After some repairs on the River Medway, she was opened in 1982 as a bar restaurant.
There have been several refits since, the most recent being in 2015, when the former ferry was returned to Hull for some £1.5 million work to be carried out. The former ferry is typically moored off Victoria Embankment opposite the London Eye.
For bookings, head to www.thetattershallcastle.co.uk.