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£43,300 Heritage Lottery Fund grant for Europe's oldest working steam dredger

The Friends of Gloucester Waterways Museum has secured a grant of £43,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for repair to dredger SND No 4. She is the oldest working steam dredger in Europe and was still in steam until earlier this year when it was discovered that several boiler tubes needed replacing.

Built in Holland in 1925, SND No 4 regularly dredged the docks at Gloucester until 1981 when a new diesel-electric dredger replaced her. From the opening of the Gloucester Waterways Museum in 1987 SND No 4 has been the star attraction, the hissing of steam and clanking of steel buckets helping to draw visitors to the museum.

As well as repairs to the dredger, the HLF money will enable the Friends to develop and promote SND No 4 as a key educational resource at the museum. It will enable new learning materials to be produced and allow visitors with visual impairment or mobility difficulties an opportunity to enter the unfamiliar world of this unique vessel whilst remaining onshore.

It was hoped that work would be completed by April, but it may be delayed as the company awarded the contract for re-tubing the boiler is currently moving premises, and Tommi Nielsen’s historic shipyard where the work will take place – just across the dock from the museum – has to finish other work before it can accommodate the dredger.

Meanwhile SND No 4 will remain on static display in Gloucester Docks along with the museum’s other, smaller, vessels. The museum is open daily through the winter 11am–4pm. Details from 01452 318200 or www.gloucesterwaterwaysmuseum.org.uk.

The ‘Wednesday Gang’, including Ken Dunn (vice chair) and Chris Witts (chairman) of the Friends of the Gloucester Waterways Museum, aboard dredger SND No 4.

Dredger SND No 4 at work in Gloucester Docks. Picture: Hugh Conway Jones

Wednesday 2 November  | Andrew Denny  | 10.24am, Wednesday 2 November 2011

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