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Thread: Mersey Ferry, Royal Iris

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    Member XL391's Avatar
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    Default Mersey Ferry, Royal Iris

    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......"


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    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!!!!!!)
    Last edited by XL391; 10-05-2007 at 04:11 PM.

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    PhilipG
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    A very moving story.
    Last edited by PhilipG; 06-26-2007 at 01:23 AM.

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    Senior Member shytalk's Avatar
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    I was on it quite a few times, always stank of diesel.
    You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.
    Winston Churchill

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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    Yes, very moving and brilliantly written to make people stop and think.

    I remember going to a disco on the Iris. I think the disco was on Friday nights .. must have been approx 1969ish. or possibly 1970.

    It was mad to let the Royal Iris go. Bladdy typical !

    There's no other place for the Iris but here in Liverpool.

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    Default I agree with you


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    Member nancy o.'s Avatar
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    Oh, that's a sad story. I have good memories of the Royal Iris. Saw a John Peel roadshow gig featuring The Farm and Ted Chippington on board in June (or was it July?) of 1985 that was, well, memorable! My friend snapped this photo of me on that night:


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    Newbie begsy's Avatar
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    Hi all, sorry but I'm a divvy when it comes to moving pictures around on the net, but theres a very sad picture on SSC -- Skyscraper and Skyline section --Industrial Decay thread --Page 3 --Third photo down.

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by begsy View Post
    Hi all, sorry but I'm a divvy when it comes to moving pictures around on the net, but theres a very sad picture on SSC -- Skyscraper and Skyline section --Industrial Decay thread --Page 3 --Third photo down.
    Go to this thread:

    http://www.yoliverpool.com/forum/sho...ght=Royal+Iris

    Interesting:
    http://freepages.family.rootsweb.com...wll/yscill.htm

    The Royal Iris collided with the Battleship Duke of York off the Gladstone Dock.
    Last edited by Waterways; 12-17-2006 at 12:40 PM.
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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Here she is painted silver:

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/keith.c...lirisindex.htm

    I believe her engines have been removed - she was diesel electric. Electric motors turned the props, the diesels turned generators to power the motors. This gave great flexibility and manoeuvrable in the strong Mersey currents - the only ferry ever to have this setup. Maybe just the electric motors are gone.



    Look at this thread:
    http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=1578
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


    Giving Liverpool a full Metro - CLICK
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  10. #10
    scouserdave
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    Forgot to post this ages ago. It's a few more pics of my visit to the Royal Iris. Put them online after a request from XL319
    http://www.liverpoolpictorial.co.uk/royaliris2/

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    Member XL391's Avatar
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    Was she in a really bad way Dave? Did you get to her engine room?

    By the way, does anyone know why she was removed from service? I know she needed a bit spending on her, but look at the cash the other three have had spent on them in the last 5 years...
    Last edited by XL391; 02-22-2007 at 09:14 AM.
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    Gerard
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    Quote Originally Posted by XL391 View Post
    Was she in a really bad way Dave? Did you get to her engine room?

    By the way, does anyone know why she was removed from service? I know she needed a bit spending on her, but look at the cash the other three have had spent on them in the last 5 years...

    A little bit about the Royal Iris..

    http://www.merseyside.net/newbrighto...fodilferry.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mersey_...e_Royal_Family

    http://www.liverpoolpictorial.co.uk/...des/iris4.html

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    Gerard
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    The Royal Iris overtakes the Thorngarth !!..Taken a couple of days ago.





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    Newbie Gerrysea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XL391 View Post
    Was she in a really bad way Dave? Did you get to her engine room?

    By the way, does anyone know why she was removed from service? I know she needed a bit spending on her, but look at the cash the other three have had spent on them in the last 5 years...
    Hi there, Word is that her engines were knackered and she could no longer handle the Mersey tides.
    Meet some like minded people with fond memories of her and who'd also love to see her saved. Find out quite a bit more about her with a visit to Ships Nostalgia Forum> Ships & Shipping > Ferries > Wallasey Ferry Royal Iris http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=1578
    Quite a few pix of her on there as well. Talking pix, I'd love to see any Royal Iris pix any of you guys may have, I've made contact with the new owner and I'm hoping that I'll get a chance to meet with him and sound out the posabilities of us seeing her back in liverpool when he's finished her refurb.
    Good to meet y'all.
    Y'all keep safe & be lucky.

    Gerry.

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    PhilipG
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    Default 1990.


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    Thanks for that PhilipG. A superb picture of her. I'd already seen it when trawling the web but nice to get a propper copy of it.
    Y'all keep safe & be lucky.

    Gerry.

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    From an old pic I found in one of my shoeboxes of many tricks and pics, possibly taken from a calendar or something, I think the Bluecoat press used to do them?
    www.inacityliving.piczo.com/

    Updated weekly with old and new pics.

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    Newbie customhouse's Avatar
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    XL31.
    Reading your post I almost had tears in my eyes. Yes like all Liverpudlians who have lived through the sixties and seventies, I too have very fond memories of her. I totally agree it would be great if she could be brought back and refurbished and take the modern generation on cruises once more. But Capitalism has an ugly face and would only respond if there was profit in it. Maybe forming an organisation like the Merseyside Transport Trust would be the way to go, and then look at Heritage value, she would even be good as a floating Casino during the evening and Cruise boat during the day. That would drag in some cash from the tourists during 2008.

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    Senior Member HollyBlack's Avatar
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    Default Royal Iris III

    Hi, I'm new, Holly, a Wallasey lass living in exile in San Francisco at least until retirement.

    I'm going to take a SWAG (scientifically-based wild-arm guess) that the cost of restoring the Iris is about the same as the cost of building a new vessel as a replica.

    So does anyone know what ship building costs these days? To build a new 1250 gt 160ft x 48ft cruising ferry with twin-screw electrical transmission. Including buff and green paint and the same art deco styling of course:-) Nice picture here:
    http://www.clydesite.co.uk/clydebuil...ship.asp?id=13


    How about the cost of a new New Brighton pier while we are at it?

    I well remember the visiting the engine room of the other Mersey vessel with electrical transmission - the last Pilot ship to remained stationed at the Bar with Mersey Pilots in residence. Gosh that must have been a long time ago because I visited it with my father who died in 1978. Does anyone remember when that vessel was open to the public (shortly after being retired I think)? I especially remember the very impressive electrical transmission.

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    Senior Member HollyBlack's Avatar
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    Default Royal Iris III costs

    Quote Originally Posted by HollyBlack View Post
    So does anyone know what ship building costs these days? To build a new 1250 gt 160ft x 48ft cruising ferry with twin-screw electrical transmission. Including buff and green paint and the same art deco styling of course:-)
    Well, I did some Internet research, the Royal Iris III cost GBPounds 256,000 in 1950.
    And shipbuilding costs are now almost exactly 20 times what they were then in US dollars. Exchange rate now 2.00, then 2.80.

    So, doing the sums, to buy a new ship, built in 2007 the same as the old Fish and Chip boat would cost roughly 256,000 x 20 x 2.8 / 2.0 or about Seven Million pounds today. Including buff and emerald green paint. :-)

    Sources:
    http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb..../Wallasey.html
    http://www.coltoncompany.com/shipbld...tics/index.htm
    http://www.solarnavigator.net/ventur...d_sterling.htm

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    Default Royal Iris Memories

    When I was a young lad In the late 70's & early 80's my old Grandad would take me on the Ferry boat every weekend from Wirral to Liverpool. They were painted green, white & black then with the old 'Merseyside Transport' sign on the Funnel's. On one hot summer sunday (a rarity!) I remember seeing this big blue Ferry going up and down the River with hundreds of people on board it. It looked amazing. I asked my Grandad what it was. He said it was the Royal Iris and promised to take me on it. The next week is was so excited I couldn't wait.

    We got the ferry from Seacombe to the Pier head and there she was at the landing stage waiting for us for our trip to the Mersey Bar & back again! It was another baking hot July day in the Summer Holiday's, the Mersey was like a lake and we got on board the Iris. It wasn't like the other Ferries. Everything was bigger, better and posher! We went to the top deck and sat in between the two air vents that looked like funnels. Grandad sorted us out with a picnic and off we went.

    It was a brilliant day sailing past all the docks and up past Formby, waving at everyone on the beach. I scoffed a load of salmon paste butties from the picnic with chips that Grandad had bought from the cafe on board. We got to the very entrance to the Mersey by Ainsdale and we could see Southport, it was great. We turned around and headed back towards New Brighton. There were huge Container ships that dwarfed us as we passed them and speed boats that were trying to get to the wake from the Iris as we passed Perch Rock. Coming into the Pier Head I didn't want to get off as I'd had such a good time. When we got off, we found out that the ferry that was supposed to take us back to Seacombe had broken down at Woodside. This meant that the Royal Iris had to become the Mersey Ferry for the rest of the day. Brilliant! Back on again we went and over to Seacome on the Iris.

    Grandad used to take me on her all the time in the holidays, I would have been about 8 or 9. After leaving school I was on work experience down in Duke St and I saw The Royal Iris in a dock in Wallasey in the early 90's all rusty and looking a bit sorry for herself. She had been withdrawn from service and was up for sale. I felt a bit sorry as that boat has made so many people happy and is a part of our history and culture over the past 40-50 years. Those fantastic day's I had with my old grandad 20 years ago will live with me forever. Something should be done to restore her and bring her back to Liverpool as although the Manx Man is a wonderful boat, I believe the Royal Iris belongs back home also. I for one would take my kids on it and tell them all about it's history and all the famous groups that have played on it. It could be a perfect attraction once again, with Liverpool enjoying a massive boom in tourism. Please bring the Iris home....

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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    Great description there Paul - brings back memories for me too.

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    great first post Paul,welcome to Yo Liverpool

    Mandy
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    Default let,s save it...

    what a great site it would be to see the royal iris returned to the mersey
    can she be saved, i,ve still got the video from granada new,s when she was taken from stanley dock, when the tow rope snapped 3 time,s was that an omen that she did not want to go...
    to see her now is very sad, i have a picture of her as a ...screensaver ..............she would look good in the albert dock as a mersey ferrie,s museum.....come on let,s save her..

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    Member XL391's Avatar
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    That footage needs to be on YouTube me old china!!!
    "Good work Raymondo, I'm bumping you back up to DS, only this time make sure it stands for Detective Seargent and not Dog Sh*t..."

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    chippie
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    Paul Jay, lovely story mate. I never did go on board her, saw her many times on the Mersey but not managed a sail. You are a lucky sod. You brought back memories of my dad and uncles and trips on the Mersey. Good luck to you and yours.
    Last edited by chippie; 10-11-2007 at 02:22 PM. Reason: spelling mistake

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    The Royal Iris. My favourite ship ever of all time of any ship, ever, ever in the world that has ever, ever been for ever. She is gorgeous. Forever gorgeous!!!!

    The Beatles on the Royal Iris:




    With Pete Best the original drummer

    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


    Giving Liverpool a full Metro - CLICK
    Rapid-transit rail: Everton, Liverpool & Arena - CLICK

    Save Royal Iris - Sign Petition

  28. #28
    chippie
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    Now Waterways, that,s pretty strong ever ever there. What is her love to you?

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    Chippie, it has been said that he would bow down to this fine vessel, he obviously meant it as he was very stern and seeing her again would make him keel over and hit the deck and being without her is like going to hull and back, sorry, i'll go now, i'm acting like an anchor
    www.inacityliving.piczo.com/

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  30. #30
    scouserdave
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    There's a very brief glimpse of the Royal Iris in my 1991 video.

    [YOUTUBE]SUBWy6RnP5I[/YOUTUBE]

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