The Fun Ship

TSS Duke of Lancaster was launched in 1959 as high end rail passenger ferry, sailing the Irish Sea.  Periodically it was used for cruises around Scandinavia or the Scottish Isles, making use of the luxury first class decks.   But times change.  More cars and fewer train passengers meant a conversion to a vehicle ferry, but even then its days were numbered.

In 1978 is was disused and anchored at Barrow-in-Furness, when a Liverpool businessman saw an opportunity.  Restrictive trading laws could be bypassed aboard ship, so it was bought, sailed to Llanerch y Mor, on the Dee estuary and berthed.   Reborn as The Fun Ship it hosted Sunday markets on the car deck, restaurants up above, and all day gaming and slot machines on top.  Unfortunately, despite initially helping, the local council seemed to put all sorts of objections to its use.  The owners continued as long as possible, but trading, gaming, and drinking laws were all relaxed and the Fun Ship’s day were over.

It is still there, berthed in a tidal inlet, visible from road, rail or sea, looking as if it is the middle of a field.  But now an art collective is transforming it into the UK’s largest outdoor art gallery, with comic book and Banksiesque murals up to 30 feet tall.  All very colourful.  The stamps highlight these efforts.  Beware of single stamps; they may be imitations.  This could be one of the most photographed ships in the UK.


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The Fun Ship

SK NumberTypeDescription
379294The blunt end
380295The backward facing bit
381296The forward facing bit
382297The sharp end

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