A lost passenger ferry that had long ties to Merseyside was reincarnated as a floating nightclub in the 1990s.
It was back in 1955 that the Manxman was launched at Cammell Laird's North Yard in Birkenhead by Margaret Garside, wife of the then chairman of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. The final passenger-only turbine steamer to be built in that period, her maiden voyage was from Douglas to Liverpool on May 21, 1955, under the command of Captain "Ginger" Bridson.
Built at a cost of over £800,000, the Manxman spent the next 27 years running services all over the Irish Sea for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, returning to Birkenhead each winter for an overhaul. She also occasionally took in other routes, heading to places such as Dublin, Belfast and Llandudno, Hull Live recently reported.
Weighing in at 2,500 tons, the Manxman featured five decks and had a capacity of around 2,300 passengers. During her illustrious history, she was also certificated to hold more passengers than any other British registered ship, including the giant Cunards, the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.
Over the years, many from the city region will remember taking a trip on the Manxman. But, by September 1982, the fate of the passenger ferry changed forever.
That year, the Manxman sailed from Liverpool to Preston, where it was intended to become a floating museum. The ECHO previously reported how after a couple of years, lack of business caused the ship to be remodelled as a nightclub, called Manxman Princess.
After some success, she was moved in 1990 to Waterloo Dock in Liverpool's Waterloo Dock, due to the River Lune silting up. On March 21, 1991, the ECHO reported how the launch of "Liverpool's latest nightclub" had to be delayed for a few months.
The 2,495-ton vessel sailed into trouble soon after arriving in Liverpool in November 1990 and workers later began refitting the vessel to revamp her, but she suffered damage in the high winds in Waterloo Dock.
If you were old enough to go clubbing at the time, you may remember dressing up and heading to the Manxman for a night out. This was not the first venue of its kind in the city, as in the 1960s, a converted tank landing craft LCT 7074, which started life taking part in the D-Day landings in June 1944, opened as the Clubship Landfall nightclub, moored in Salthouse Dock.
But a few years in operation, the Manxman again left Merseyside for a new home. The venue is said to have been too far out of town for local clubbers and was subsequently moved to Hull in 1994.
Do you remember the Manxman? Let us know in the comments section below.
After being towed around the country from Merseyside to East Yorkshire, the revamped 100-metre long vessel opened for business next to the River Hull, complete with six bars, two discos and a 100-seater restaurant. But it was eventually moved again to Sunderland in 1997.
In the early noughties, the Manxman Steamship Company was set up in an effort to try and save her and at one point, there was hope that it would become a visitor attraction. But despite campaigns to restore it, the ship was "finally broken up for scrap in 2012," Hull Live previously reported.
In 2006, Sarah McEvoy, from Croxteth Park, shared her memories of the Manxman's life as a club with the ECHO. It reads: "Back in the late 1980s, the SS Manxman was a thriving, floating nightclub berthed in Preston Docks.
"It was on there in January 1989 that my Liverpool boyfriend proposed to me, a Lancashire lass, from Longridge, near Preston. I have fond memories of the Manxman as a great nightclub that was always a good night out, with discos on the different floors, and you could walk out onto the deck for some fresh air under the stars.
"Happy days, dancing the night away to Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet! “ It would be great to have the ship here in Liverpool."
In its time, the Manxman had many special moments appearing on the big screen. She starred alongside Barbra Streisand in the Issac Bashevis Singer-penned film 'Yentl" and also doubled as the rescue ship Carpathia in for the 1979 movie SOS Titanic.
It's now been over a decade since we said goodbye to the Manxman. But many across Merseyside will still have fond memories of the Manxman, from journeys when it was a passenger ferry to having a night out there when it was a nightclub.
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