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First vessel enters the Albion Dry Dock

Pelican of London in the Albion Dry Dock (SS Great Britain Trust)

First vessel enters the Albion Dock kickstarting next phase for Bristol’s historic dry dock

The Pelican of London tall ship has been welcomed into Bristol’s Albion Dry Dock, next to the Great Western Dockyard and the SS Great Britain.

She is the first vessel to enter the dry dock since the SS Great Britain Trust and Bristol City Council announced plans to restart shipbuilding and repair in the harbour in July this year.

The Trust is now working in association with the newly-established Albion Dock Company to offer repair, maintenance and shipbuilding services for larger vessels from within Bristol Harbour and beyond.

The Pelican of London is a tall ship originally built in 1948 as an arctic fishing trawler. She is now owned and operated by Adventure Under Sail, a charity supporting the development of young people through sail training.

The Pelican has been moored in Bristol since the city’s Harbour Festival in July and will now be undergoing maintenance and repair in the Albion Dry Dock.

Matthew Tanner, Chief Executive of the SS Great Britain Trust, says: “It is a real milestone to welcome the Pelican of London into the dry dock as the Albion Dock Company’s first customer. This is the culmination of many months of careful planning and preparation by all involved and is the start of a new phase of big ship repair at the Albion.”

The Albion Dock Company is owned by experienced maritime manufacturer Martin Childs along with Paul and Steve Beacham who also run Sharpness Shipyard and Dry Dock at the head of the Bristol Channel.

Martin says: “Together with the services already offered by the Underfall Yard and the Bristol Marina, a functioning Albion Dry Dock means Bristol can now support an even broader range of high-quality maritime services.”

Albion Dock Company will be servicing mainly large Bristol-based ships, as well as vessels from outside Bristol such as the Pelican. Those wishing to discuss the ship repair services available at the Albion can contact the team on 0117 929 9310.


Notes to editors

The Albion Dry Dock

The 540ft-long Grade II listed Albion Dry Dock was originally dug in 1820 and is the largest in Bristol. It was created by Charles Hill and James Hilhouse who built many ships on the site until Bristol City Docks were closed to commercial traffic in 1977. Abels Shipbuilders continued to build small ships in the dock from 1980 onwards, while the Bristol Marina was created across the rest of the Charles Hill yard. The dry dock has been derelict since the retirement of David Abels in 2016.

About Brunel’s SS Great Britain

Brunel’s SS Great Britain is Bristol’s number one visitor attraction, as voted by the public on Trip Advisor. It is home to the world’s first great ocean liner, the SS Great Britain, Being Brunel, and the Brunel Institute, which houses one of the world’s finest maritime and Brunel collections. The charity that manages and maintains Brunel’s SS Great Britain and collections is the SS Great Britain Trust. More information at