Upon the Thursday ebb tide

I spotted from my riverside studio a tug-towed lighter bearing a mobile crane and various maritime artefacts including a large white funnel and masts from HMS President (1918). Once the HQ ship of the RNVR, she latterly became a conference entertainment centre moored alongside the Victoria Embankment with her twin HQS Wellington close by.

To identify this large ‘pot of paint’ was a challenge as the ship had been covered with a WW1 dazzle design applied to confuse an enemy. By chance I had a leaflet to hand which told the tale of this massive piece of camouflage which had been applied by German artist Tobias Rehberger. Commissioned by 14-18 NOW Liverpool Biennial and other worthies, I presumed the frigate was Liverpool bound, so I will keep a weather eye open for the ship’s passage down the Thames.


The frigate had been an eye sore for some time as a ‘picture’ window and doors had been installed to provide a floating lecture hall. Her neighbour HQS Wellington looks pristine and plays her role as a livery hall for the Worshipful Company of Master Mariners, which is a joy to visit.


I can also recall that the ‘Discovery’ was once moored here in years gone by – kept in excellent order she also made a wonderful venue for maritime occasions.

More information welcome!

PS: HMS President is now a RNVR shore base with pontoon landing stage in the Lower Pool close to St. Katherine’s

About RiverWatch returns

Peter Kent shares his Thames riverside studio viewpoint

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