Thanks to the newly re-opened Albion Dry Dock, large Bristol based ships such as Thekla can be worked on in the City – next to Brunel’s iconic SS Great Britain. Following a partnership between the SS Great Britain Trust and the Albion Dock Company the dry dock facility reopened in 2018, allowing maintenance to be administered in the city once again.
Thekla is the second – and largest – vessel to enter the Grade II listed dry dock facility to undergo maintenance since it reopened. The historic dry dock is the largest in Bristol, providing vital repair facilities for large vessels.
The operation to manoeuvre Thekla into the 165 metre-long (540 ft) dry dock involved two tugs and the oversight of the Harbourmaster and his team. At 52.77 metres (173 ft), Thekla is one of the longest ships residing in Bristol’s Floating Harbour.
George Akins, Managing Director at DHP Family, owners of Thekla, said:
“We’re pleased that Thekla can be worked on in Bristol. At over 50m Thekla is one of the longest ships in Bristol’s Floating Harbour so the reopened dry dock is an essential facility for large ships.”
Thekla came to Bristol in 1983 and is much-loved as a popular music venue. She was originally a cargo ship, built in Germany in 1958. As a coastal trading vessel, Thekla carried cargos between northern and western European ports
The Albion Dock Company is run 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.
Albion Dock Company will be servicing large harbour-based ships, as well as vessels from outside Bristol. Those wishing to discuss the ship repair services available at the Albion can contact the team on 0117 929 9310.
Matthew Tanner, Chief Executive of the SS Great Britain Trust, says:
“It is a real milestone to welcome Thekla into the Albion Dry Dock. 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.”
Depending on the weather, Thekla is expected to return to its usual position for a club night on either Thursday 10 or Saturday 12 January 2019, when it will reopen to the public. The Thekla team will announce the exact date of its reopening through its website and social media channels.
About 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.