pre war years
The MEDWAY QUEEN was built at Troon in 1924 specifically for the New Medway Steam Packet Company for operation on the River Medway.
The ship was commissioned by the New Medway Steam Packet Company Ltd in 1923 at a cost of £21,500 (equivalent of £1,000,000 in 2013) for completion in 1924. The ship was built by the Ailsa Ship Building Company of Troon on the Clyde river. Ailsa had a good reputation of building quality paddle steamers.
The ship was constructed using a traditional frame on plate technique and the internal joints on bulkheads were constructed using round head rivets. The engine was also constructed by Ailsa, being a compound diagonal steam engine (with two cylinders working at different steam pressure). A bow rudder was later fitted in 1936 to better enable the ship to manoeuvre in harbour and the ship was converted to oil firing in 1
In the early part of the 20th century a trip on a paddle steamer was a highspot of a families summer with the MEDWAY QUEEN's decks often being full of holidaymakers. During these times most seaside resorts had their own pier where many paddle steamers disembarked their passengers. The MEDWAY QUEEN mainly operated between Strood and Southend calling at Sun Pier (Chatham), Upnor and Sheerness with additional destinations such as Herne Bay, Clacton and occasionally Margate.
She would normally leave Strood Pier at around 9am and call at Sun Pier (Chatham) shortly after. This was a time when an excursion on a paddle steamer was a really big day out for all the family. The Medway Queen carried many people on her various excursions from the Medway Towns during the 1920s and into the 1930s. Then during the late 1930s dark clouds gathered over Europe and there was little hint as to the part the Medway Queen would play.