HQS Wellington
HMS Wellington (launched Devonport, 1934) is a Grimsby-class sloop, formerly of the Royal Navy. During the Second World War, she served as a convoy escort ship in the North Atlantic. She is now moored alongside the Victoria Embankment, at Temple Pier, on the River Thames in London as the headquarters ship of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners where she is known as HQS Wellington. It was always the ambition of the founding members of the company to have a livery hall. Up to the outbreak of war in 1939, various proposals were examined, including the purchase of a sailing ship, the Archibald Russell. After the war, it became apparent that the possibility of building a hall in the City of London had been rendered very remote.  In 1947, the Grimsby-class sloop Wellington was made available by the Admiralty. The company decided to buy her with money subscribed by the members and convert her to a floating livery hall - an appropriate home for a company of seafarers. Before the Second World War HMS Wellington served in the Pacific mainly on station in New Zealand and China.  As built, Wellington mounted two 4.7 inch guns and one 3-inch gun. Additionally, anti-aircraft guns were fitted for self-defence. Depth charges for use against submarines were carried. Wellington served primarily in the North Atlantic on convoy escort duties. She shared in the destruction of one enemy U-boat and was involved in Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk. A fuller account of Wellington’s war service has been written by Captain A. D. Munro in his book HMS/HQS Wellington.    During 1943 she was briefly commanded by Captain John Treasure Jones, at that time a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy Reserve, who would later be the last captain of RMS Queen Mary. The Grimsby-class anti-submarine sloops of 1933-36, which included HMS Wellington, were the predecessors of the famous Black Swan sloops of 1939, including HMS Starling which sank 14 U-boats, and HMS Amethyst, the hero of the 1949 Yangste Incident. These wartime sloops further evolved during the Battle of the Atlantic into the River and Loch-class ASW frigate types. HMS President is moored near Wellington on the Embankment. This ship, built as HMS Saxifrage in 1918, was a Flower-class anti- submarine Q-Ship, and is one of the last three surviving warships of the Royal Navy built during the First World War. President was one of the first types of warship built specifically for anti-submarine warfare. Wellington and President together represent the first and second generation ancestors of modern frigates, which are the most numerous type of front-line warship in today's navy. In naval fiction. After the War, she was converted from being His Majesty’s Ship Wellington to "Head Quarters Ship" HQS Wellington at Chatham Dockyard. The cost of this conversion was met by an appeal to which Lloyd's, Shipping Companies, Livery Companies and many other benefactors generously contributed. It included the installation of a grand wooden staircase taken from the 1906 Isle of Man ferry SS Viper, which was being broken up at the same time. Wellington arrived at her Victoria Embankment berth in December 1948 to continue service as the floating livery hall of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners. In 1991, HQS Wellington was dry-docked at Sheerness for three months during which, apart from extensive steelwork repairs and complete external painting, she received a major refurbishment which included the refitting of all toilet facilities, offices and accommodation areas. For the first time, Wellington was fully fitted with custom-made carpet, and displays were installed of the Company’s marine paintings and artefacts, gold and silver plate, ship models and newly discovered very early 18th century charts.
HQS Wellington as she is today
HMS Wellington in April 1942
Naval Service
The Wellington Trust
On the 1st of July 2005 ownership of the Wellington was transferred from the Honourable Company to the Wellington Trust, a charitable trust established to ensure the preservation of this historic ship. Moored opposite Temple Underground Station, HQS Wellington is centrally located straddling the boundary between The City and Westminster. It is very popular for lunches, dinners, and conferences for parties up to 250 people. Wellington is a unique London venue for any functions which benefit from the backdrop of its wonderful collection of marine antiques, including priceless paintings and model ships. Flexibility is key to the attraction of this venue with a range of rooms available, from small meetings in a boardroom to a whole ship event.  The ship is also a licensed venue for holding weddings. The library onboard the Wellington contains numerous publications on a variety of maritime subjects, ranging from the complete works of Joseph Conrad to Lloyd’s Register of ships. In addition, there are many ship’s log books, first hand accounts of seafaring and empirical research papers.  The library also contains a large collection of sextants, chronometers and other maritime instruments and artefacts. Of particular importance is a rare Listor & Martins Berlin circular sextant made in Germany in the mid 19th Century and a French Chronometer built by Berthoud and dating from the 1850s. The Wellington houses a wide range of beautiful and historic artefacts and treasures onboard, including a large collection of ship models, which include a large model of HMS Victory, an exquisitely detailed model of the Cutty Sark and a model of a whaler made from whale bone.  In 2005, the Honourable Company lent a number of artefacts to the Museum of Garden History for an exhibition on Captain (later Vice Admiral) Bligh’s epic voyage 3618 mile voyage, following the mutiny onboard the HMAV Bounty Medals won by a number of Company members are also displayed. These include two George Cross’ won by Captains GP Stronach and DM Mason and one Victoria Cross won by Captain RB Stanard RN. The ship is open to visitors on occasions throughout the year and group tours can also be arranged at a nominal cost, to include refreshments. The ship is located just across the road from Temple tube station (on the District / Circle Lines), a 10 minute walk from either Charing Cross or Blackfriars mainline stations, or 15-20 minutes across the Thames from Waterloo. As HQS Wellington is a working environment, it is not open to the public except on specified days, but students of maritime history and those interested in the sea are most welcome to visit us by appointment; For further information visit:  http://www.thewellingtontrust.com
SS Shieldhall
The SS Shieldhall was laid down in October 1954, launched on 7th July 1955 and entered service in October of that year. Built by Lobnitz & Co., of Renfrew on the River Clyde to a specification determined by the Glasgow Corporation, she was required to carry her “cargo” as well as passengers housed in a spacious saloon in her daily trips “doon the watter”. Shieldhall was operated by Glasgow Corporation to transport treated sewage sludge down the river Clyde to be dumped at sea. She continued a tradition, dating back to the First World War, that Glasgow's sludge vessels carried organised parties of passengers when operating during the summer months. Thus Shieldhall was built with accommodation for 80 passengers. In 1976, after 21 years of faithful service on the Clyde, Shieldhall was laid up. Shieldhall was purchased by the Southern Water Authority in 1977. For five years, from 1980, she carried sludge from Marchwood, Millbrook and Woolston in Southampton to an area south of the Isle of Wight.   It was when she was suddenly withdrawn from service in July 1985, due to rising fuel prices, that active preservation began. As a result of an initiative by the Southampton City's Museum Services, a preservation society was formed and "Shieldhall" was purchased from Southern Water in 1988, for £20,000.  The Society is registered as an Industrial and Provident Society as The Solent Steam Packet Limited and operates as a charity. All work associated with the Society and "Shieldhall" is carried out by unpaid volunteers. Much work has been done on the ship by these volunteers in order to keep her in sea-going condition. The saloon has been restored and the galley brought up-to-date. Crewed by volunteers, "Shieldhall" is a frequent sight around the Solent running excursions and such like. She has been to Holland for the Dordrecht Steam Festival and she has been an attendee at each of the International Festivals of the Sea at Bristol and Portsmouth. During the summer months, various excursions are run in the Solent area and during the course of these voyages, passengers are encouraged to visit the Bridge and machinery spaces. “Shieldhall” is unique as a time capsule providing a working example of steamship machinery both above and below deck, typical of the cargo and passenger ships that plied the oceans of the world from the 1870s until the mid 1960s, by which time they were all but extinct. The ship is of special interest as she is built on the classical lines of a 1920s steamer with a traditional wheelhouse; the hull is of riveted and welded construction and this unusual feature is representative of the transitional phase in British shipbuilding when welding took over from riveted practice. The hull has a slightly raked bow and cruiser stern. The teak decks and emergency steering position aft add to the classic effect. Shieldhall was effectively obsolete mechanically at the time of her launch having steam machinery representative of the late 19th century at a time when the diesel engine was coming into its own.  She is now believed to be the largest working steam ship in Northern Europe. For further information visit:  http://www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk
SEAFARERS AFLOAT home of The Merchant Navy Association Boat Club
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