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MV Havengore

Havengore decorated for the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant
Civil Ensign of the United KingdomUnited Kingdom
Name: Havengore (2nd of that name)
Namesake: Havengore Island, a low-lying marshy island off the coast of Essex.
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(s): 'H'
Honours and
Bearer of Sir Winston Churchill during his State Funeral in 1965
Status: Fully operational
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, originally launched in 1956 for service with the Port of London Authority (PLA). After her withdrawal from service and sale in 1995, she was 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 carrying the body of Sir Winston Churchill as part of his State Funeral.

Havengore was named after 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, and an earlier PLA vessel, the SY Havengore, had carried the same name. She was a small steam yacht, launched in 1910, that performed the role of a patrol vessel, operating from Barking to the outer port limits, until she was broken up in the 1940s.


  • History 1
    • Construction 1.1
    • 1956-1995: Port of London Authority 1.2
    • 1995-2011: Private ownership 1.3
  • Association with Sir Winston Churchill 2
  • Association with Royalty 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6



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. She was launched in 1956.[1][2]

1956-1995: Port of London Authority

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

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

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

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] The craft also participated in observances on the Thames marking Queen Elizabeth II's surpassing of Queen Victoria as the longest-reigning British monarch on 9 September 2015.[13]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Havengore"The Historic Vessel .  
  2. ^ a b Browne, Sally (Spring 1999). "Port of London Authority's Havengore: Saving Sir Winston Churchill's Funeral Launch".  
  3. ^ "Port of London News: January/February 2005" (PDF).  
  4. ^ "Churchill's Ship Finds New Home".  
  5. ^ "Havengore".  
  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. ^ plays from c.22 minutes in)"Havengore"The final journey of Winston Churchill (footage of .  
  10. ^ "The State Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill".  
  11. ^ Rebecca English (17 May 2012). "The river of royalty: Queen uses Jubilee pageant to pay tribute to all her family".  
  12. ^ "Court Circular June 3rd 2012". Retrieved 5 June 2012. 
  13. ^

External links

  • River Thames Boat Charters SiteHavengoreOfficial
  • entry in the National Register of Historic VesselsHavengore
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