SS Shieldhall is a heritage cargo/passenger steamship based at Southampton’s Eastern Docks. Considered to be the oldest steamship of her type in Europe, Shiedhall is now included in the National Historic Fleet. Launched on the Clyde in 1955, her original role was to transport treated sewage or sludge down the River Clyde to the dumping grounds in the Firth. However, she served a secondary but no less important role of carrying residents from Glasgow on day outings ‘Doon the Watter.’ Shieldhall was built on classic lines and retains her original machinery and traditional wheelhouse. Sold to Southern Water for a similar sludge disposal role, she was eventually withdrawn from commercial service in 1985, whereupon she was purchased by the Solent Steam Packet – the charity who continue to manage Shieldhall today. Now operated by a team of dedicated volunteers, visitors can enjoy dockside functions or sail along Southampton Water / The Solent on a selection of cruises during the late spring and summer months. Cruises range from two hours to a full day.
As part of a visit to Shieldhall, visitors are encouraged to walk the teak decks, see the impressive engine room with its original steam engines at work, and the bridge, with its traditional instruments and gleaming brasswork. You can also talk to the captain and crew; listen to the commentary as Shieldhall passes the sights of Southampton Water and The Solent and view the Great Ocean Liners and container ships. Visitors can relax in the Saloon where a wide range of refreshments including tea / coffee, Titanic Ales, wine and hot and cold food is available.