Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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African Queen

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(also known as S/L Livingstone)

The boat used in the movie The African Queen which starred Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn

1912 Thought to have been built by Abdela, Mitchell and Co‎ for service in Africa on the Victoria Nile and Lake Albert but some sources dispute this.[1]. Others say she was built by Lytham Shipbuilding and Engineering Co[2] but this is also questioned by some.

"Stroud canal boat follows in wake of African Queen:- The 45ft-long Gloucester is an exact copy of the original three vessels Sharpness, Worcester and Birmingham designed and built near Brimscombe Port by renowned firm Abdela and Mitchell between 1908 and 1912. The Abdela & Mitchell company built the boat immortalised in the 1951 film African Queen, which starred Hollywood legends Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. Gloucester, commissioned in June 2007, is the fourth narrow-beam canal tunnel tug to be built in the West Country. It is undergoing sea trials before being sailed to her owner's home port of Cardiff. She was commissioned by waterways enthusiast and medical statistician Dr Chris Poole.... Gloucester is 7ft wide and has a draft of 3ft....The Gloucester project was supported by British Waterways, which allowed Dr Poole to complete much of the work at the Boatshed in Brimscombe." [3]

She was used by the British East Africa Railway from 1912 to 1968 to shuttle cargo and passengers across Lake Albert.

1990 The boat was owned by a hotelier in Florida who, being unable to find a US firm to restore the engine, sent the boat to a firm in Storrington, West Sussex for a refit[4]

Now preserved at Key Largo in Florida.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Gloucestershire Archives
  2. The Times July 27, 1990
  3. This Is Gloucestershire-Gloucestershirelive.co.uk - February 11, 2009.
  4. The Times, May 07, 1990