Thames Ship Society



     History and Aims

The Thames Ship Society, also known as the TSS was formed in 1962 by a group of like minded shipping enthusiasts. The main aim of the society is to provide high quality tours to major shipping areas, enabling the members to note the ships seen and to obtain the best possible photographic opportunities of the shipping. 

Today, over 40 years after it's formation the society has approximately 350 members, from all over the United Kingdom and also from further afield, including Gibraltar, Malta, Turkey and Australia.

We have an annual programme of day, weekend, week long and more extensive long haul tours. Tours range from a few hours private cruising on the Thames, Medway, Solent or other UK ports, to a week at the major continental ports or to a two-week long-haul holiday to the Far East.  

Comprehensive travel arrangements, private harbour cruises, excellent photographic opportunities and good quality accommodation are the hallmarks of TSS trips. Members of the TSS are able to note ships and take photographs in a social and convivial atmosphere with like minded people.

Where ports have suitable vessels we charter them for our exclusive use. Normally, we limit the number of participants on each private cruise for the comfort of members and to maximise photographic opportunities for all participants. Vessels used by the TSS have included Tugs, Fishing Vessels, Thames Sailing Barges, Launches and Paddle Steamers. Vessels we charter include the Thames pleasure cruiser Princess Pocahontas, the preserved steamship Shieldhall, the Kingswear Castle and the Blue Funnel vessels in Southampton.

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Shieldhall at Southampton

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Princess Pocahontas in the Thames

We have built up a strong relationship with the owners of harbour cruise vessels in the continent, at Rotterdam and Antwerp such that they have become familiar with our requests. On our trips to the Far East, even Chinese junks have been used.

In addition to ports in the UK we regularly organise trips to the major continental ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg, Gent and Dunkirk. In Rotterdam we usually organise a ten hour private cruise of the entire Rotterdam port complex on our vessel the Diane. In Antwerp and Hamburg a five hour private cruise is usually undertaken, taking us to parts of the ports that the public cruises never see. Cruises are sometimes taken in the North Sea Canal between Amsterdam and Ijmuiden.

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View from our Hotel in Istanbul

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Rasa Sentosa Hotel in Singapore where we usually stay

Week long trips have been taken further afield to ports in Greece, Spain, Italy, Poland and Turkey. Ventures further afield have included the USA West Coast, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, and South Africa. A very successful tour to Istanbul normally happens every other year and in 2005 and 2007 a 15 night tour to Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai took place. Every effort is made to arrange successful and trouble free tours.

Details of events and tours are sent out to members at regular intervals along with a Quarterly Newsletter which contains news, photos and accounts of recently completed trips.

If you are interested in joining the TSS please see the the Contacts section. We look forward to hearing from you.

Copyright  Thames Ship Society 2004-2019 : All photographs on this website are copyright of the copyright holder as indicated for each photograph. Photographs may not be re-produced in any way without prior permission in writing from the TSS. Whilst we try to ensure that all information contained on the website is free from error, the TSS and it's members cannot be held responsible in any way for the validity of the website content. Send mail to ThamesShipSociety with questions or comments about this web site.