MV Balmoral have announced that, thanks to National Lottery players, they have been awarded a grant of £248,318 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

The grant is for a project entitled “Save MV Balmoral for Bristol and Beyond” and is a tribute to all the hard work in put in by volunteers, partners and trustees over the period since the ship last sailed in keeping the ship well-maintained, alive and a welcoming and visible well-used asset to Bristol and its harbour.

The grant covers funding for staff and events that will allow the team to increase Balmoral’s use for inspiring education and in reaching less advantaged communities.  The ship has also been chosen as the HQ for Bristol Harbour Festival from 19th to 21st July 2024, where many young people will take part in making and racing cardboard boats as well as enjoying all the other activities that are put on in the harbour.

The Balmoral is Britain’s most widely travelled excursion ship, carrying over 2 million passengers around the coastline of Britain and Ireland.  Launched in 1949 at Thornycroft & Co. Ltd, Southampton, she was designed to be both a pleasure steamer and a working vessel, and for twenty years was the flagship of the Red Funnel fleet. 

Balmoral has carried members of the Royal family, including the Princess Anne and the Duke of Edinburgh, and has operated as a ferry in Wales and the South West.  In 1985 she was rescued from the muds and bought by the Waverley Steam Navigation Company for £20,000.  She entered service in 1986 as a consort to the world-famous PS Waverley, operating to over 185 piers, ports and inlets around Britain.

Balmoral was withdrawn from service and laid up in Bristol Harbour in 2012, before being transferred to a new Charity, established specifically for her restoration and continued preservation.  Today, still based in Bristol, she stands as one of Britain’s most prized maritime assets.

A major part of the grant will be used to dry-dock the ship in order to check, repair and repaint the hull and the through-hull valves etc., ensuring the integrity of the ship for at least another five years.  While the ship is in dry dock, it is a good opportunity to get some extra work done which will bring Balmoral that bit closer to sailing again.  For these extra works they need to raise some additional funds - if you would like to help, please donate via their website.

The Balmoral opens weekdays on Tuesdays and Fridays for volunteer restoration at her Bristol Harbourside moorings, and also regularly welcomes the public aboard for Open Days and other events.

Read more about MV Balmoral, one of our Shipshape South West projects.

MV Balmoral Zone South West