Our vision 

A joint initiative by the Maritime Heritage Trust (MHT) and National Historic Ships (NHS-UK), proposes the designation of 'Heritage Harbour' status to historic ports and harbours across the UK.

Drawing on similar initiatives in Europe including the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany, we seek to recognise the value ageing ports and harbours still have today. Often located in urban areas, there is potential to breathe new life into existing historic buildings; moorings; maintenance facilities; and waste land. We think that a 'Heritage Harbour' should reflect the story of an areas maritime heritage; offer a safe heaven for local and visiting historic vessels; and connect with the local community. 

Amongst the rush to develop new housing along attractive waterfronts, we think it is important to protect the heritage of harbours and ports. By working with developers and local authorities, we hope to create a shared understanding of the long term benefits heritage can have to an area, including:

  • protection of heritage assets at risk
  • support for local business growth
  • increase tourism 
  • improve community cohesion and inclusivity
  • attract investment 
  • attract heritage funding 

Our aims and objectives 

We want to preserve and connect people with the UK's maritime heritage by helping local and travelling historic vessels to find moorings; facilities; and support within designated 'Heritage Harbours'. To achieve this, we must:

  • develop a consortium across historic vessel owners; local government authorities; statutory port authorities; developers; and educational groups 
  • connect with local communities to identify benefits of having Heritage Harbour status 
  • develop a criteria for Heritage Harbour status 
  • identify ports and harbours of historical significance across the UK that fulfil the criteria to be designated as a Heritage Harbour
  • promote the benefits and activities of Heritage Harbours 


A proposal is in place to designate the Medway, from Folly to the M2 Road and HS1 viaducts as a Heritage Harbour. 

The Medway has a rich maritime heritage still very visible today from Historic Dockyard Chatham to the large collection of Thames sailing barges, motor tugs, bawleys, and fishing smack still operational today. 

A Heritage Harbour status would seek to offer moorings for historic vessels; develop access routes to the waterfront and encourage local residents and tourists to connect with the areas maritime heritage. 

Historic Vessels in Medway 

John H Amos
    Pic 1: Steam Paddle Tug John H Amos, 1931


VIC 96
    Pic 2: VIC 96, 1945


Medway Queen
    Pic 3: Medway Queen, 1924

Find more historic vessels in Medway with our online search.

Port of Faversham 

Following a Medway initiative, there are current talks to develop the historic Port of Faversham as a Heritage Harbour. 

As small shipyards, maintenance slips and barge blocks slowly disappear from the South East, small boat access to Faversham is currently seriously limited. 

The aim is to use existing infrastructures to provide services to local and visiting historic vessels, including:  

  • the purifier building, ordnance wharf, and the BMMW car park to form a maintenance, winter quarters and ship museum area
  • the slipways at Town Quay and Swan Quay
  • the large shed to be returned to use as a sailmaking space
  • open covered shed used for boat repair
  • old chandlery used for an office or small workshop
  • the Town Jetty and Council moorings to offer discounted moorings for historic vessels

Historic Vessels in Faversham 


    Pic 4: Vigilant, 1901


Ethel Alice
    Pic 5: Ethel Alice, 1897


    Pic 6: Collie, 1890

Find more historic vessels in Faversham with our online search.