Heritage steamship puts the flags out!


Volunteers on heritage steamship, SS Shieldhall, are celebrating having received one of the highest accolades from a national organisation.

The Southampton-based vessel has been chosen as the 2018 regional flagship for the National Historic Fleet.

The award was given not just because of the ship’s unique history but also in recognition of the work put in by the volunteers and the comprehensive sailing programme for visitors.

Speaking at the presentation on Weds 6 June, Director of National Historic Ships, Hannah Cunliffe, said: ‘We are looking for vessels to be our ambassadors and to promote maritime history. ‘The Shieldhall was chosen because of the efforts made by all the volunteers who keep her maintained and running. We recognise it is the 30th anniversary of the ship being taken over by the Solent Steam Packet Charity and we wanted to acknowledge that as well.’

Ms Cunliffe said there are now 1,300 ships on the National Historic Register. ‘In order to be included they should be more than 50 years old, over 33 feet in length and based in the UK,’ she explained.
Within the register is the National Historic Fleet with just 217 ships which are of national or regional importance; illustrate an example of maritime history and are worthy of long-term preservation. Shieldhall is one of these ships along with such prestigious vessels as the Mary Rose – the oldest on the register – and the Cutty Sark.

The Shieldhall was chosen as the NHF national flagship in 2009 but since then the fleet has grown considerably and the awards are now given regionally.
Joint chief engineer Graham McKenzie said: ‘I think it’s a great reflection of the work carried out by the volunteers. All the work these people have put in over many years has yet again been recognised by the national body for historic ships.’

If you would like to sail on the Shieldhall there are numerous opportunities coming up in late June and early July, with sailings on Saturday 30th June (Head to the Solent Cruise, 4pm – 7pm); Sunday 1st July (American Independence Day Jazz Cruise, 2pm – 6pm); Saturday 7th July (Cruise to watch the Round the Island Race, 10am – 5pm); Sunday 8th July (Southampton Docks Cruise and see 3 cruise ships depart, 4pm – 6pm).  For full information, visit the Shieldhall website,

Info for editors:
Tickets for Shieldhall’s 2018 programme may be purchased online at or by contacting the Ticket Manager on 0844 357 2329  (calls cost 7p per minute from landline, calls from mobiles may vary).

Captioned pictures of the presentation of the Regional Flagship pennant and SS Shieldhall sailing on Southampton Water are attached.

Images show Graham Mackenzie – Joint Chief Engineer; Hannah Cunliffe – Director, National Historic Ships; Shieldhall Captain Robert Siddall; Shieldhall First Officer Rob Robson and the Shieldhall volunteer crew

Nigel Philpott, Marketing Director, can be contacted on 023 8084 3310 or


Posted by Lewis Folland, Fri 8 Jun 2018