I know everyone is concerned about the SS Manxman. However, in my opinion, there is a FAR more important piece of Liverpool life that needs saving and preserving for future generations. Here is a genuine, heart pouring post I have left on another forum:
As a kid, I remember my solitary cruise on the Royal Iris. I remember the day. I remember the day the Liverpool Echo reported that her days were numbered, I remember her last cruise, the QE2 visits and I still have (somewhere) the Echo supplement of when she was retired from duty. I sailed on her once, as a young boy, year not remembered, but I will never forget it as long as I live. I remember my solitary cruise with affection, even though, I couldn't have been more than 10 at the time. She sailed into Stanley Dock straight after her retirement where my father was a market trader. Times were hard, and I used to help my Dad every weekend to make ends meet. I remember after she arrived. I hate water, despise it, I can't swim to this day, but I remember, she berthed in Stanley dock with her ar*e facing the quay. She was the same hight. Climb over I said. The angel in my head said no. But, and i'd never trespassed in my life, over the barriers I went. I walked up the rear stairs to the boat deck and was promptly chased. But, I felt her magic again. I followed her progress every week. She was moved further up the dock, out of the way, then painted blue. I used to know a fella at Stanley Dock, who used to love everything sea, ship and mainly Merseyside. My grandad was the same, but these are another story. Until I picked the Echo up that day to say she was off to Cardiff. Why? My heart sunk. But why was I bothered?? I had sailed on her once as a young kid??
The day came. She was off to Cardiff. I was distraught. I wanted to see her off (if anyone was there, she put up a hell of a fight at Stanley Dock gates, not wanting to leave...) and all I was doing was watching her on TV. The morning she eventually left, it was all low key, but I BEGGED my Dad to take me down to the Pier Head to say goodbye. It was cold, wet, miserable but he took me and my sisters down there to see her go. We got there, to Mersey Ferries Terminal, I sprinted down, I said to the guy there "Where is she??" He replied:- "My boy, you've just missed her. She came up to the pier head, behind her tugs, a blast of the whistles, a brief farewell, and she was gone", wiping the tears from his eyes, off to Wales. I cried my leg off.
A few years later (1999 to be exact) I had to drop a car off in Cardiff. Perfect, I thought, I hadn't seen the old girl in years, and I couldn't wait. I'll see how she is doing. To my shock and disappointment, she had left, a week earlier, for London.
I visited London a lot and still do, not knowing her exact location. I do now, and will make a point of saying hello to the old girl. No matter what anyone says or does, e.g. saving the s.s. Manxman. The Manxman is a BEAUTIFUL ship. Gorgeous. It would be a priviledge to have her. But look at one of Liverpools Jewels in the Crown. The Royal Iris IS Liverpool. She left our fair city once (funnily enough, to go to London) but on no other occasion. The Royal Iris IS LIVERPOOL!!!. River cruises in the sixties, the dance floor, the fish and chip cafe, the bloody NAMES that have played on her, e.g. The Beatles??? Why nothing is being done to bring this great vessel back to Liverpool both shocks and saddens me. You ask anyone in Liverpool, who Lived through the fifties, sixties and seventies about the Royal Iris, very few ask "What are you talking about??" Most remember her with a wry smile, a giggle, and their next line is:
"I'll tell you a story. One time when we were on the Iris......"
I bet you all, to this day, with river cruises, especially on the Mersey, now coming back into fashion, Mersey Ferries are gutted to have let her go. She had her problems, and most people know what they are, i've heard a lot of them, and that's probably why she was retired, but when you look at what Mersey Ferries have outlayed on Woodchurch, Mountwood and Overchurch in the past few years, they could have spent that on the Grand Old Lady of the Mersey. Instead, Overchurch is now the cruiser, the one who carries out all that the beautiful Iris did ten times better. I will do the Manchester Ship Canal on the Royal Daffodil (Overchurch) next summer. But, what it would have meant for me to be on the Iris for that cruise....
BRING HER HOME!!! - THERE IS NO VESSEL, AND THERE NEVER WILL BE, ANYTHING LIKE HER!!
(P.S. If there is anyone on here who was part of her crew, sailed on her, even loves her for what she is, lets hear your stories - Come On All You Old Lags!!!!!!)