Registration number 62
Status National Historic Fleet

Previous names

  • Sabrina Flumen


Function Service Vessel
Subfunction Inspection Launch
Location Gloucester and Sharpness Canal
Current use Private use
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No


Builder Fielding & Platt Ltd, Gloucester
Built in 1870
Hull material Iron
Rig None
Number of decks 2
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Steam compound
Boiler type Water Tube
Boilermaker Historic Steam, Kew
Boiler year 1988
Boiler fuel oil


Breadth: Beam
9.75 feet (2.97m)
4.10 feet (1.25m)
Length: Overall
53.97 feet (16.46m)
Air Draft
13.50 feet (4.11m)


One of the oldest powered vessels in the country, SABRINA was built as the Directors' and Engineer's Inspection Launch for the Gloucester and Berkeley Ship Canal (now the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal).  She was used for the company's annual formal inspection of the canal and for various other official duties day-to-day, as well as being chartered for private parties.  In 1942 she was sold after 72 years service.  She was then used as a leisure boat until 1948, moored at Apperly on the River Severn.  She was sold and moved to Diglis Basin, Worcester in 1948, where the steam engine was removed and a diesel engine fitted, as well as a wheelhouse and a 'motor cruiser' style bow added.  In the summer of 1954 she travelled by sea from the River Severn via Lands End to the London area, where she became a houseboat named Sabrina Flumen, the Latin name for the River Severn.  A new owner in 1970 realised her historical significance, which was continued by subsequent owners.  A new coal-fired boiler was fitted in 1988 and this was converted to oil-firing in 2003.

As of May 2019, SABRINA is located on the Gloucester & Sharpness canal.

Key dates

  • 1870

    Built as Inspection Launch for the Gloucester and Berkeley Ship Canal

  • 1942

    Sold into private ownership after 72 years of service and used for family holidays on the River Severn

  • 1949

    Sold, steam engine removed, converted to diesel and 'motor cruiser' bows and wheelhouse added

  • 1954

    Sold, made sea passage to Grand Union Canal to become a houseboat at Rickmansworth

  • 1970

    Sold in centenary year

  • 1975

    Sold and put back in steam on the River Thames

  • 1988

    New coal-fired boiler fitted by Historic Steam Limited

  • 1995

    Sold at the Henley Auction

  • 2003

    Boiler converted to oil-firing

  • 2012

    Attended Queen's Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant on 3 June carrying Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire

  • 2019

    Vessel under new ownership and returned to the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal


Steamboat Register: An illustrated Register of surviving steam vessels in the British Isles, Steam Boat Association of Great Britain, Edition 6, May 1994 
Johnson, Peter, The Sunday Times: Take to the water with sales of the riverbank, pp4.11, 2 July Personal Finance, 1995 

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