500th voyage for SS Shieldhall as Charity celebrates

Solent Steam Packet Chairman Doug Brodie, Shieldhall Captain Peter Roberts and Shieldhall Chief Engineer Graham Mackenzie with a 500th sailing cake – all passengers were offered a slice and to toast ‘full speed ahead’ for Shieldhall!
The Solent Steam Packet Limited, the charity operating Southampton’s heritage steamship SS Shieldhall, are celebrating as the vessel recently embarked upon her 500th voyage since charitable status began in 1988.
Originally constructed in 1955 as a vessel to carry treated sludge down the River Clyde to the dumping grounds for the Glasgow Corporation, Shieldhall was sold to Southern Water in 1977 to perform a similar role out of Southampton.
Her role was discontinued due to rising costs and Shieldhall was due to be sold for scrap. However, a group of enterprising individuals saw her heritage value, forming the charity and purchasing her for her scrap price of £20k.
Although currently limited to sailing in Solent waters (with passengers) it is hoped to extend the list of cruise destinations in future years.
Shieldhall’s 500th sailing saw her set sail for an all day Solent cruise, giving passengers the opportunity to enjoy the spectacle of what turned out to be a record breaking Round the Island Yacht Race. As with all Shieldhall cruises, passengers were able to see the impressive Shieldhall engine room with its original steam engines at work, and the Bridge, with its traditional instruments and gleaming brasswork. Warm weather also meant the bar and saloon were busy with a steady stream of visitors for Shieldhall’s renowned real ale, bacon butties and ice cream!
Today Shieldhall is the largest operational, passenger-cargo steam ship in Britain. A member of the National Historic Fleet she serves as a sea going tribute to Britain’s maritime heritage. Shieldhall is based in and sails from Southampton Docks (except for a few days in September in Poole where she is moored for the Bournemouth Air Festival).
Full details of the 2017 cruise programme and berthing information can be found at www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk
Shieldhall’s  late August and September Schedule:
BH Mon 28 August – One-Way Trip to Poole from Southampton – 10am – 4pm
Fri 1 September – Bournemouth Air Festival Sailing from Poole Quay – 10am – 7pm
Sat 2 September – Bournemouth Air Festival Sailing from Poole Quay – 10am – 7pm
Sun 3 September – Bournemouth Air Festival Sailing and Merchant Navy Day Service from Poole Quay – 10am – 7pm
Mon 4 September – One-Way Trip to Southampton from Poole – 10am – 4pm
Sat 9 September – Heritage Open Day Trip – 4pm – 6pm
Sun 10 September – Heritage Open Day Trip – 4pm – 6pm
Sat 16 September – Southampton Boat Show Cruise – 3pm – 6pm
Sun 17 September – Final season cruise, Head to the Solent and see 3 cruise ships depart – 3pm – 6pm
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