MV Havengore

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Havengore 2012-06-02.jpeg
Havengore decorated for the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant
Career (UK) Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom
Name: Havengore (2nd of that name)
Namesake: Havengore Island, a low-lying marshy island off the coast of Essex. The derivation of the word Havengore is Old English, 'haefen' meaning an anchorage and 'gor' meaning muddy. The adjoining Havengore Creek marked the northern end of the PLA's jurisdiction prior to 1964, when it was extended to include the whole of the Thames Estuary. By convention many PLA vessels are named after features of the River Thames.
Owner: Christopher Ryland
Operator: Venues of Distinction
Ordered: 1954
Builder: Tough Brothers, Teddington
Launched: 1956
Sponsored by: Port of London Authority
Commissioned: 4 February 1956
Recommissioned: 1997
Decommissioned: 1995
Maiden voyage: 1 February 1956
Out of service: 1995
Reclassified: 2006
Homeport: London
Identification: MHQK
Motto: "Walk always in the Ranks of Honor"
Nickname: 'H'
Honours and
Bearer of Sir Winston Churchill during his State Funeral in 1965
Status: Fully operational
Notes: An earlier PLA vessel, the S.Y. Havengore was a small steam yacht. Launched in 1910, she performed the role of a patrol vessel operating from Barking to the outer port limits. She was broken up in the 1940s.
Badge: A demi-bulldog affronty vested in a Union Flag holding a twisted rope coil with an azure background, two sea-lions combatant, representing the PLA, supporting a "V" for Victory.
General characteristics
Class & type: Class V Passenger ship; ex survey ship
Tonnage: 89.19 tons gross, 46.31 registered
Length: 25.81 m (84.7 ft)
Beam: 4.95 m (16.2 ft)
Draft: 1.90 m (6.2 ft)
Installed power: Twin Gardner 8L3 Diesels delivering 304 h.p. at 900 r.p.m.
Speed: 12.29 knots
Capacity: 40 passengers
Crew: up to 10

Havengore is a former hydrographic survey launch re-registered as a passenger vessel for up to 40 passengers. Based on the River Thames, Havengore has also served as a ceremonial vessel. She is best known for her association with Sir Winston Churchill.


Havengore was commissioned by the Port of London Authority in 1954 to replace its former survey vessel the Shorne Meade. Built by Tough Brothers of Teddington, she is of double diagonal construction in teak over a framework of English oak. The National Physical Laboratory helped design and test her twin counter-rotating propellers and underwater fittings, while Decca Radar oversaw trials of her survey systems. Launched in 1956, she is named after a Thames landmark, Havengore Island.[1][2]


1956-1995: Port of London Authority[edit]

Havengore entered service with the Port of London Authority on 4 February 1956. As the PLA's hydrographic survey vessel, she was responsible for recording changes to the bed of the River Thames and Thames Estuary. She was the first survey vessel in the UK to install a computer to record survey data, using punched tape; replacement Unix workstations were installed in 1989. After becoming the longest-serving PLA vessel, she performed her last hydrographic work in 1995, when she was withdrawn from service and sold.[1][2]

1995-2011: Private ownership[edit]

After changing hands in 1995, Havengore was restored and refitted at the Chatham Historic Dockyard in Kent. Subsequently she was used by the Havengore Education and Leadership Mission (HELM) to provide excursions for underprivileged children on the River Medway. Changing hands again in 2006, three further phases of restoration - including the reuse of parts from a 0-4-0 diesel locomotive - have ensured that she remains fully operational in compliance with MCA regulations, while respecting her historic fabric.[3][4][5]

Havengore participated in the river pageant held to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and has taken part in services marking Armistice Day and Armed Forces Day. Moored at St Katharine Docks, Havengore currently undertakes a mixed programme of public service and charitable events and is also available for corporate hospitality purposes.[6][7][8]

Association with Sir Winston Churchill[edit]

On 30 January 1965 Havengore carried Sir Winston Churchill on his last journey by water along the River Thames from Tower Pier to Festival Pier during his State Funeral. This event was broadcast live to an estimated worldwide audience of 350 million viewers, one in ten of the then world population. Archive newsreel footage is available via the BBC website.[9] Havengore carries a commemorative plaque presented by the International Churchill Society inscribed with the words of the BBC broadcaster that day, Richard Dimbleby CBE: 'And so Havengore sails into history ... not even the Golden Hind had borne so great a man'.[10]

Association with Royalty[edit]

Havengore participated in the river pageant held to mark the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977.

On 17 May 2012 it was announced that the Havengore had been selected to carry members of the Royal Family as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in a flotilla of over a thousands vessels during the Thames pageant on 3 June 2012.[11] Members of the Royal Family who embarked on the Havengore for Thames pageant were The Duke of York, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Historic Vessel Havengore". Sotheby's. Retrieved 4 August 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Browne, Sally (Spring 1999). "Port of London Authority's Havengore: Saving Sir Winston Churchill's Funeral Launch". American Neptune: Maritime History & Arts 59/2. 
  3. ^ "Port of London News: January/February 2005". Port of London Authority. Retrieved 4 August 2009. 
  4. ^ "Churchill's Ship Finds New Home". The Churchill Centre and Museum at the Cabinet War Rooms. Retrieved 21 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "Havengore". National Register of Historic Vessels. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Havengore - Home/Heritage". Retrieved 2 December 2005. 
  7. ^ "Poppy wreath laid on the Thames during Armistice Day service". London SE1 Community Website. Retrieved 18 April 2010. 
  8. ^ "Sikh ceremony at St Katharine's Dock". FlickRiver. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  9. ^ "The final journey of Winston Churchill (footage of Havengore plays from c.22 minutes in)". BBC. Retrieved 18 April 2010. 
  10. ^ "The State Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill". BBC. Retrieved 18 April 2010. 
  11. ^ Rebecca English (17 May 2012). "The river of royalty: Queen uses Jubilee pageant to pay tribute to all her family". Daily Mail. Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  12. ^ "Court Circular June 3rd 2012". Retrieved 5 June 2012. 

External links[edit]