Previous names

  • 1926 - 1947 Armadillo
Certificate no 316
Status Registered


Function Passenger Vessel
Subfunction Ferry
Location Cremyll
Vessel type Ferry
Current use Commercial Activity
Available to hire Yes
Available for excursions Yes
Info required No
Web address


Builder Rogers Boatyard, Cornwall
Built in 1926
Hull material
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts
Propulsion Steam
Primary engine type Unknown
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Length: Overall
65.97 feet (20.12 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed


NORTHERN BELLE was built as the steam ferry ARMADILLO by Rogers Boatyard, of Cremyll, Cornwall, for the Earl of Mount Edgecumbe's estate, which had, since 1885, operated the ferry service between Cremyll Quay and Admiral's Hard, Plymouth. After the death of the 5th Earl in 1944, the descent ceased and ownership of the vessel passed to the Millbrook Steamboat & Trading Co. In 1956-47, a rebuild of Mashford, Cremyll, (the yard previously owned by Rogers) involved the replacement of the steam engine by a diesel, and the vessel was renamed NORTHERN BELLE. In 1980, Dart Pleasure Craft took over the Millbrook Steamboat & Trading Co. In 1985, the vessel was sold to Tamar Cruising and continued to provide the ferry service until 2009.

Source: Paul Brown, Historic Ships The Survivors (Amberley, 2010), updated Mar 2011.

In January 2019 it was reported that the vessel had been bought by a local group called the Northern Belle Trust who aim to restore her and return her to service on the Tamar, possibly used as a floating classroom. The group are working on a brand new electric propulsion system, the very first time that such a move has been made in the UK.

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