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.
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.
Modified as a car-ferry with the main deck rebuilt to accommodate vehicles via a door at her stern
Returned to service as a car ferry on the Heysham-Belfast route
Service on the Heysham-Belfast route withdrawn
Briefly employed on the Fishguard-Rosslare crossing before becoming the regular relief vessel on the Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire service
Laid up at Barrow in Furness
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
Used as a warehouse for a Clothing Co with the same address as Empirewise Ltd
Featured in BBC’s 2 Coast
Most of the coin operated machines were purchased from Solitaire Liverpool Ltd
Vessel turned into a large open-air art gallery
Remains at same berth pending funding to turn vessel into floating leisure and retail complex
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
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