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SS Robin Victorian Thames steamship to be airlifted’ onto pontoon

PUBLISHED: 09:00 26 June 2010 | UPDATED: 16:12 05 October 2010

Steam Ship

Steam Ship "Robin" leaving West India Dok, Canary Wharf, London June 28, 2008

Carmen Valino

THE newly restored SS Robin, the last remaining steam-coaster in the world, is being airlifted by cranes onto a floating museum pontoon on Monday, ready to return to the River Thames. The historic vessel will be lifted onto her new floating base at Lowestoft

Picture: Carmen Valino

By Mike Brooke

THE newly restored SS Robin, the last remaining steam-coaster in the world, is being airlifted by cranes onto a floating museum pontoon on Monday, ready to return to the River Thames.

The historic vessel will be lifted onto her new floating base at Lowestoft in Suffolk, ready for her return to East London where she will eventually take up her role in Docklands as a new museum and learning centre for youngsters.

The SS Robin, built in East London in 1890, is a unique piece of maritime history, listed on the National Historic Fleet register and regarded as one of the most important British-built ships.

Monday’s crane lift marks the penultimate milestone in a two-year restoration. The operation at Lowestoft’s Commercial Road slipway involves two heavy cranes raising the 300-ton vessel off the quayside and onto the floating pontoon, starting around 9am and taking five hours.

Kampfner project consultants are leading a technical team of London and East Anglian marine experts including engineers, naval architects and shipwrights in a world first’ historic ship conservation.

David Kampfner said: “The SS Robin is being saved for the nation while enjoying a new lease of life on the Thames as a museum and training centre. This is a momentous occasion, marking a new chapter in her remarkable story.”

The irreplaceable vessel is a classic Victorian coaster, of the type immortalised in John Masefield’s poem Cargoes. She was brought to Lowestoft in 2008 from her Isle of Dogs mooring for essential conservation and repairs to her riveted structure.


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