Buy a piece of maritime heritage

M V Manxman
M V Manxman
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LOVERS of maritime heritage can buy a piece of a historic steam ship after attempts to save her failed.

As reported in the Echo, Pallion Engineering is dismantling the former Isle of Man passenger ship the Manxman.

The ship arrived in the River Wear in September 1997 after failed attempts to run her as a business operation. But her fate did not improve.

Bill Ogle, chairman of the Manxman Steamship Company, said a series of attempts had been made to save her since, but it had now reached the end of the road.

Parts of the ship will be saved however, with memorabilia stripped out and offered for sale.

Mr Ogle said: “Pallion Engineering Ltd would like to give Manxman enthusiasts, and the wider community, the opportunity of purchasing some of the memorabilia onboard.

“There are many significant pieces including the logo badge, name, lifeboats and davits, original interior panelling, wood decking, handrails, portholes windows and many more.”

Mr Ogle said his organisation, based in Liverpool, and Pallion Engineering, had tried their best to save the ship.

He said: “Pallion Engineering, as agents for her owners, have continually sought opportunities for her long-term future.

“In spite of a number of realistic proposals, none has come to fruition, and sadly her continuing deterioration leaves no further option.

“Pallion Engineering has welcomed many visitors to see the old ship and assisted in a number of attempts to establish a future for her.”

The Manxman was built in 1955 for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, which is now the world’s longest-trading passenger shipping company.

It is the last steam-powered passenger vessel built by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead in Merseyside.

The ship was based on a design originating in 1936 when two steamers, Fenella and Tynwald, were built at Barrow for the Isle of Man service.

Both were lost during the Second World War. The Manxman was one of six post-war replacements.

Eventually her sister ships went to the wreckers, but the Manxman survived. She was sold to Marda (Squash) Leisure and made her final passage from Liverpool to Preston in 1982.

There she became a established as a static historic exhibit, but sadly the promised dockside redevelopment fell behind schedule and the Manxman failed to attract the anticipated visitor numbers.

She was again sold for conversion into a nightclub and restaurant, remaining at Preston until 1989 when it was announced that the Preston Riverside developers wanted the entire waterfront area for a new marina complex.

The Manxman did not feature in their plans.

She was towed to Liverpool in November 1990, where unsuccessful attempts were made to re-establish her as nightclub operation.

In April 1994, she was towed to Hull, where her decline continued and another planned commercial enterprise failed. She was towed to Sunderland in 1997.

Originally, she was located at a river berth, but vandalism prompted Pallion Engineering to move her to the secure shipbuilding hall and dry dock at Pallion.

For information on memorabilia available, visit, email or telephone 564 0404 and ask for Julie Robson.

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