Bristol Queen

Excursion built 1938 by Denny, William & Bros Ltd, Dumbarton

Designated ensign Designated house flag



Passenger Vessel



Weston Super Mare

Commercial Activity

Commercial trade





Web site









To be confirmed

13.00 feet (3.96 metres)

62.00 feet (18.91 metres)

3.90 feet (1.19 metres)



Passenger vessel BRISTOL QUEEN was built by W.M. Denny & Bros. Ltd. of Dumbarton, and operated under the official number 165936. She was commissioned by the Caledonian Steam Packet Company on 6 January 1938 as one of two small motor vessels to be sister ships to the existing WEE CUMBRAE and operate as Clyde ferries. The hull construction was to be steel plate riveted and welded, with a pointed bow, a raked straight stem and a transom stern. The contract price was £4150 and delivery was to be by the end of May 1938. BRISTOL QUEEN was launched under her original name of LEVEN, yard number 1332, on 25 May, some days after her sister ship ASHTON, yard number 1331, which was launched on 11 May. Sea trials were undertaken on 25 and 30 May, with the vessel reaching just over nine knots. Her engines were by Gleniffer Engines Ltd. and consisted of two four cylinder DB4 diesels. The hull and superstructure were painted white, the rails and promenade deck were lined with canvas and awnings were fitted fore and aft. The final cost was £8318 10s for both boats. They put to work on the Clyde on 1 June 1938 and significant trips include carrying passengers to view the Great Empire Exhibition and the building of the great ocean liner QUEEN ELIZABETH. When the Second World War broke out, LEVEN, under the command of Captain Alex McNab, was ordered to take Glasgow doctors to board the destroyer HMS VIVACIOUS which was going to the assistance of survivors from the torpedoed liner ATHENIA. She then helped to land the survivors. Later in the war, she helped bring ashore the first German prisoners. After the war, LEVEN and ASHTON were laid up for some weeks until being requisitioned as tenders to the Clyde Anchorage and placed on the Gourock to Dunoon ferry service. By 1948, LEVEN had been transferred to the Largs to Millport service and the association continued until 1961. ASHTON and LEVEN shared a charter for carrying personnel from the East India Harbour at Greenoch to a floating dock at Gareloch. However, in 1965, the two ships were not re-commissioned and were put up for sale. LEVEN was bought by Mr. Joseph Miniford of Larne, but was re-sold almost immediately to the South Western Steam Navigation Company Ltd. at Paignton. She was renamed PRIDE OF THE BAY and operated between Paignton and the River Dart. In 1970, she was purchased by Mr. M. D. Barrow, who installed twin Thornycroft six cylinder diesel engines two years later, with direct control from the steering position. Also at this time, the lavatory was moved to the saloon. She was sold again to Mr. C.J. Wilson and operated from Torquay, around Tor Bay and to the River Dart. In January 2000, the current owner obtained her as a replacement for CANBERRA QUEEN, to be based at Weston-Super-Mare and work to Steep Holm Island in the Bristol Channel, with a possible ferry service to Cardiff.

Peter Herriot, The Railway Motor Boats (1999)
Kenneth Fraser, Clyde Steamers A meeting with an Old Friend (1999)

Previous names

  1. 1938 – 1970Leven
  2. 1970 – 1999Pride of the Bay

Subsequent developments

Oct 2014  Currently, BRISTOL QUEEN is out of the water and undergoing a major refit.  More pictures will be added to her webpage, once the work is completed. Source: Vessel Owner.

Key dates

  1. 1938

    Built by Denny of Dunbarton

  2. 1939.1945

    Reqisitioned for war service


  1. 1999 Clyde Steamers A meeting with an Old Friend - Kenneth Fraser
  2. 1999 The Railway Motor Boats - Herriot, Peter
If you are the owner of the vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information please contact

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