29 November 1999


Waverley Steam Navigation Co. Ltd, the charitable company which owns Glasgow- based Waverley, the only sea-going paddle steamer in the world, has awarded a 3million 7-month rebuild contract to Great Yarmouth based George Prior Engineering Ltd, to commence later this week. The re-build aims to restore the historic ship to her original 1947 form, whilst complying with all relevant marine safety legislation.

In 1997 the charity was successful in attracting a 2.7million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant towards the rebuild of the 52 year old steamer, with significant partnership funding also being provided by the European Regional Development Fund, the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, Dunbartonshire Enterprise, Enterprise Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and Argyll & Bute Councils and the Clydesdale Bank.

Alan MacDonald, Chairman, Waverley Excursions Ltd, the vessel’s operators, commented:

"We are delighted to be able to award this prestigious project to George Prior, the successful completion of which will enable this unique paddle-steamer to delight and charm passengers for many future generations to come. Waverley has been offering day trips throughout the UK since 1974, when she was purchased by the charity for 1, and we are all optimistic about her future post rebuild."

Tenders for the rebuild were received from 5 ship repair yards throughout the UK.

Additional funding to support the rebuild project is now being sought by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS), the national charity dedicated

to the preservation of paddle steamers throughout the UK.

Nick James, Chairman, PSPS, explained:

"A combination of factors including new safety legislation and more recent requirements of the HLF regarding historical authenticity have led to a significant increase in the cost of Waverley’s rebuild. This could not be fully identified until we received the shipyard tenders.

"The rebuild will be commencing in a few days time, but without additional funding of around 1.9 million we will not be able to complete the full scope of works planned and would have to phase this over a number of years, which would be even more costly. We are hopeful of additional funding from the HLF since the complete rebuild of Waverley is a world-class maritime heritage flagship project. However the charity must match this with partnership funding. We already have 225,000 which is half the necessary amount. We are therefore announcing an appeal to our supporters and members to enable the project to go forward to the fullest extent possible".

Any members of the public wishing to support the appeal can contact 0141-221-8152 for further details.

Waverley’s rebuild is to be completed by June and a "new" Waverley will be returning to service for the enjoyment of passengers throughout the UK in July 2000.


Further information:

Ian McMillan, Project Director

Alan MacDonald, Chairman

Ellie Newlands, Commercial Director

Waverley Excursions Ltd 0141-221-8152

Return to Rebuild Diary