Steamship Freshspring Society

The Steamship Freshspring Society is a Registered Charity whose aim is to return SS Freshspring to operation, preserving the past and inspiring knowledge for the future.

SS Freshspring will initially become a static exhibit in Bideford, Devon. She will be progressively sympathetically restored to provide an educational resourse, provide short day excursions and carry cruise passengers in comfortable well-appointed cabins along with seafaring cadets or volunteers accommodated in dedicated cabins.

The primary aims of the Society are to:

  • to preserve and ensure future sustainability for SS Freshspring as a working example of 19th and 20th century marine technology for the benefit of the public;
  • to attract and inspire young people and provide engineering education facilities to encourage them to consider a career in maritime and or engineering;  
  • to provide facilities to teach basic skills in the management of a historic vessel and steam machinery;   
  • to provide education support in mainstream education in STEM related subjects.

The Society

The Steamship Freshspring Society is a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) and was entered on the Register of Charities on 7 May 2013, with the charity number 1151907.

Supporters of the Society 

The Steamship Freshspring Society is proud to be working in conjunction with Jobs In Maritime and National Maritime Development Group, University of The West of England, Integer Training, Whitelands Engineers, Torridge District Council and the Trust has received kind support from Nautilus International, National Heritage Memorial Fund, National Historic Ships UK and The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights.  

NEWS - SS Freshspring receives Lottery funding boost

The project to restore SS Freshspring, a rare historic steamship, has taken another major step forward. A £61,000 National Lottery grant has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The news comes less than 18 months since the Trust was awarded £155,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) to transport the ship from Newnham on Severn and berth her in Bideford. 

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the award is for a two year programme including works required to open the ship to the public as a heritage attraction. There will be a considerable emphasis on education from school age children to the general public. The grant includes funding to employ an Education and Project Officer.

Read more here

NEWS - Read ss Freshspring's Statement of Significance

The Steamship Freshspring Scoiety have worked togetehr with National Historic Ships UK to create a Statement of Significance for Freshspring

You can read the Statement on their National Historic Ships registration page here.

NEWS - NEET’s course in Bideford 

The Steamship Freshspring Society, which owns the heritage steamship, has linked up with John Evans and Integer (a training provider) to deliver courses to support NEET’s (16-18’s Not in Employment Education or Training) in Bideford in Level 2 Occupational Studies for the Workplace with a focus on the maritime industries. The Course starts in September and is operated on a not for profit basis. 

We do know that Bideford and District has a high number of NEET's but targeting them can be difficult, so please feel free to share this information. We can support up to 15 this year to make sure young people are given the best chance of achieving their true potential. Places are limited so call Integer today on 01288 356263.

Source:, 31st August 2016

NEWS - SS Freshspring begins journey to restoration, 6 July 2016

On the morning of Wednesday 6th July the heritage steam ship, Freshspring, was towed along the river Severn in Gloucestershire from Newnham-on-Severn to Sharpness, marking the start of a major project to restore the ship. The current works are supported by a grant awarded by the National Heritage Memorial Fund, which will enable Freshspring to be saved and be moved to a public location in the North Devon town of Bideford. 

The ship will soon enter the drydock at Sharpness, where the condition of hull will be assessed, before works are carried out, to enable her to be towed to her new home port of Bideford. 

The tow was undertaken by the Appledore based marine contractors, Keynvor Morlift Ltd, with their tug, New Ross One and Larkham Ships vessel, Riparian. 

This is the first major step in bringing the ship back to operating condition. She will become a static maritime heritage exhibit in Bideford while the Trust works towards major funding for the full restoration of the vessel. SS Freshspring has been designated as of national importance as she uniquely represents the small steam coasters which served the nation for over 100 years. She is the only small steam cargo ship with the capability of being returned to seagoing condition.

Once the ship is berthed in Bideford, she will be be worked on by Volunteers who will carry out restoration work and prepare her for opening to the public. The Trust is already working locally to inspire and support young people into careers in the maritime sector and in engineering. 

Source: Steamship Freshspring Society, News Update, 6 July 2016


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