The charity is registered with the Industrial and Provident Societies, number 26065R. Preserving the steamship "Shieldhall" in operational condition is its main objective. The Society was set up in 1988 as a result of an initiative by Southampton City Council who recognised the maritime heritage value of "Shieldhall" and as a result of that initiative, a group of enthusiasts purchased "Shieldhall" from Southern Water for £20,000.
"Shieldhall" is the last survivor of her type and is generally recognised to be the largest steamship of her type operated entirely by unpaid volunteers. Since 1988, the membership has steadily increased and today stands at over 800 people, worldwide. "Shieldhall" provides a unique opportunity for the general public of all ages to visit her and see her in action.
She also supports the community of Hampshire in many different ways by providing:
- A realistic training platform for Hampshire Fire and Rescue service.
- An opportunity for an annual air/sea rescue exercise with the RNLI and HM Coastguard.
- A training facility for members of the Sea Cadet Corps aged between 12 and 25 years from all different backgrounds.
- A work environment for people on a drugs and alcohol rehabilitation programme.
- A working example of 19th and 20th century industrial technology to school children and youth organisations, historical societies and local groups aged from 9 to 90 years.
- A very valuable focus for community involvement for locals of all ages who may have, or wished to have had a seafaring background.
The main work days for work parties are Wednesdays and Saturdays, between 10:00 and 16:30, but members do work on board most other days. We are always looking for people to help and if you haven't had previous experience, we have people that will help you learn. Don't wait to be asked, come and find us or see "How to Join".