Duke of Lancaster: Former ‘Fun Ship’ becomes Urban Street Art Canvas

duke-of-lancaster-fun-ship (Image: ramarg60, reproduced with permission)

In 2011, Urban Ghosts incorrectly reported that the former cruise ship, The TSS Duke of Lancaster, was abandoned. In fact, this luxurious 1950s passenger vessel is much loved and has many friends. The turbine steam ship was beached in 1979 at Llanerch-y-Mor, near Mostyn in Wales, UK, where the base of her hull was encased in concrete.

duke-of-lancaster-car-ferry (Image: alienwatch, cc-nc-nd-3.0)

The old lady’s owners, Empirewise Ltd., turned the vessel in to a static leisure centre with market, arcades, bars and restaurants (as well as allowing tours of her bridge and engine room). Although proposals were made to convert ‘The Fun Ship’ in to a hotel, this dream was never achieved and the ship’s metaphorical gangplank was soon closed to the public.

The good people at DOLAS (Duke of Lancaster Appreciation Society) are currently working hard to spread awareness and persuade people that the ageing vessel’s restoration is a worthwhile venture. Unfortunately, local road access to the site has persistently proved a barrier to the ship’s redevelopment over the last thirty years as the route has been deemed unsuitable for large emergency vehicles.


duke-of-lancaster-fun-ship-graffiti-2 (Images: Ann Millen, reproduced with permission)

The most recent proposal for TSS Duke of Lancaster is that it become an open art gallery and hands-on training facility. While campaigners have been patiently waiting for the council’s approval, graffiti artists from all over Europe have stowed away to give a hand on deck.

duke-of-lancaster-fun-ship-graffiti-3 (Ann Millen, reproduced with permission)

The artwork is both eerie and spectacular; considering themes from greed and corruption to diving and hidden beauty. The ship certainly attracts attention as it appears to sit in a field when viewed from nearby roads but it has also featured in BBC’s Coast and was almost used in the film World War Z.

A ‘Steering Committee’ has now been formed to help refresh proposals and communication with Flintshire Council. If you would like to be part of the effort, why not join the DOLAS Facebook group?



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