Certificate no 2318
Status Registered


Function Passenger Vessel
Subfunction Ferry
Location Llanerch-y-Mor
Vessel type Ferry
Current use Private use
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required No


Builder Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast
Built in 1956
Hull material Steel
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 2
Primary engine type Steam turbine
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
55.00 feet (16.78 m)
Length: Overall
354.00 feet (107.97 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed


THE DUKE OF LANCASTER is a passenger ferry built by Harland and Wolff, Belfast in 1956. She is of steel construction with twin steam turbine engines by Babcock and Wilcox. She was designed to operate not only as a passenger ferry but also as a cruise ship. This phase of her life ended in 1970 when she was converted to a car ferry.

She was laid up in Barrow in Furness in 1978. In 1979, THE DUKE OF LANCASTER was privately owned and beached at Llanerch-y-Mor in North Wales. The intention was to turn the vessel into a floating leisure and retail complex. This was relatively short lived and the vessel remains at the same berth pending funding.

Key dates

  • 1956

    Built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast as a Passenger Vessel for British Railways for use as a ferry, mainly on the Heysham-Belfast route and as a cruise ship around the Scottish Islands and further afield to Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway and Spain. 

  • C1965

    Modified as a car-ferry with the main deck rebuilt to accommodate vehicles via a door at her stern

  • 1970

    Returned to service as a car ferry on the Heysham-Belfast route

  • 1975

    Service on the Heysham-Belfast route withdrawn

  • 1975-1978

    Briefly employed on the Fishguard-Rosslare crossing before becoming the regular relief vessel on the Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire service

  • 1978

    Laid up at Barrow in Furness

  • 1979

    Sold to Empirewise Ltd who intended to use her as a static Leisure Centre.  She was brought into a permanent dock and surrounded by sand for the Dee Estuary and known as the Funship.  After a battle with the Local Authority, the owners halted the Funship Business

  • 1985

    Used as a warehouse for a Clothing Co with the same address as Empirewise Ltd

  • 2011

    Featured in BBC’s 2 Coast

  • 2012

    Most of the coin operated machines were purchased from Solitaire Liverpool Ltd

  • 2013

    Vessel turned into a large open-air art gallery

  • 2014

    Remains at same berth pending funding to turn vessel into floating leisure and retail complex

  • 2015

    Vessel is known to be land-locked in North Wales in poor condition and in contention with Flintshire County Council as to its ownership and future use

Own this vessel?

If you are the owner of this vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information, please contact info@nationalhistoricships.org.uk

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