Originally named St Katharine, the vessel now moored on the River Thames sporting the uninspiring name of The Yacht London has quite an interesting past
The Port of London Authority purchased her in 1927 from Philip and Son Ltd of Dartmouth for the princely sum of £21,512. Employed on survey and inspection work until the outbreak of war in 1939 she was taken over by the Admiralty and fitted with a three pounder and twin Lewis guns and manned by the Royal Navy Reserve Crew.
In November of that year she saw action as guard ship for the Medway Channel in the Thames Estuary. Enemy aircraft attempting to drop parachute mines into the river were driven off by the St Katharine’s fire – she thus holds the distinction of being the first vessel to engage the enemy in the Port of London in World War II.
In 1946 she was released back to the Port of London Authority and, following a complete refit in Southampton, returned to service and became a cruise ship for visiting VIP’s welcoming distinguished guests including:
- The Queen Mother
- Prince Philip
- King Faisal of Saudi Arabia
- Clement Attlee
- Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten
- Benazir Bhutto
- Soviet Prime Minister Malenkov
- Soviet Prime Minister Brezhnev
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II herself visited the Yacht in 1949 and subsequently ten years later.
In 1971 St Katharine was sold to Robins (Marine) Ltd to be redeployed as a floating restaurant and after careful restoration, in close consultation with English Heritage and PLA Archivists, has been restored to her former glory retaining many of her original features from the Art Deco era reworked with a contemporary design twist. One such feature is a stained glass window with the Port of London crest and motto “Floreat Imperii Purtvs” – Let the Imperial Port Flourish – which is proudly displayed at the heart of the vessel.
After a two-year renovation costing £500,000, The Yacht London has emerged as one of the city’s popular wedding and corporate event venues on the Thames and is privately owned and managed.
In June this year watched by millions around the world, over one thousand boats manned by 30,000 spectators will sail up the river behind the Royal Barge, all within 200 feet of The Yacht London.
For those who fancy ringside seats watching the historic Royal Diamond Jubilee Flotilla, take place in the afternoon on Sunday, 3rd June she is offering a special package. With boarding from 11.00am it includes:
- Eight-Course lunch in two sittings with fine wines and champagne
- Traditional High Tea
- Talks and Lectures by guest speakers with knowledge of the Royal Family
- Live music and dancing until late on the Top Deck to the music of the Kent Sinfonia brass quintet.
The Royal Diamond Jubilee Promotion is priced at £695 per person, excluding VAT, which is we are reliably informed, cheaper than a day at the Panorama Restaurant at Cheltenham!
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