DHB Lady Savile – Past and Present

Lady Savile

Ex Penlee, Sir Richard Grenvile (I)

Iron twin screw turbine vessel built in 1891 by Cammell Laird Brothers of Birkenhead (Build Order no. 583, Yard No V0580) as a Passenger Tender.

Technical Data

  • Length: 132 ft
    Breadth: 30.1 ft
    Depth: 12.6 ft
    Draught: 9.45 ft
    Tonnage: 420 – 379 gross/178 – 103 – 153 net/ deadweight
    Engines: Compound 4-cylinder engine.
    Power: kW/HP
    Speed: 12,5 knots
    Call Sign: MKDN,
    LR Number(1930 – 1931): 84554
    Official Number: 152004, 97475 (Lady Savile)
    Port of Registry: Plymouth/UK, Dover/UK


1891: Launched as SIR RICHARD GRENVILE (I) for Great Western Railway.

April 30th 1891: Left the Mersey. She was intended as one of their Atlantic liner tenders to meet the large mail steamers frequenting Plymouth, and also as an excursion steamer along the coast. Operating from Mill Bay Dock, Plymouth and as the largest of the tenders owned by G.W.R., she joined SIR WALTER RALEIGH, FRANCIS DRAKE and SIR JOHN FROBISHER.

March 10th 1902: Used to transport King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra & party from the Royal Yacht to Millbay Pier.

1921: Advertised “For Sale”, but eventually returned to service being renamed PENLEE

1930 – 1931: Great Western Railway

October 1931- 1946: Renamed LADY SAVILE for Dover Harbour Board taking passengers to and from ships off Dover.

Alongside a Hamburg – Amerika liner in the early 1930’s

Courtesy of Paul Wells @ Dover (Kent) History Pages

1932 – 1939: Coastal cruises from Dover towards Ramsgate/Margate, lasting 3 hours and costing no more than 3 shillings (“Licensed buffet with dancing to the New Dapper Dance Band on the promenade deck”)


During the W.W. II, she served as a Clydeside tender to QUEEN MARY and other troopships.


Courtesy of Paul Wells @ Dover (Kent) History Pages  “After war service” (Left) 🆕 Scan taken from “Four Ships, One Hundred Years of the Essex Yacht Club” by Stuart Readman( Right)

1947 (Summer) : “Looking for new headquarters, Essex Yacht Club were made aware the LADY SAVILE was available to purchase. “The vessel was valued at £7,000 but approximately £2,500 would be required for the removal of machinery, boilers and auxiliaries………….an offer of £2,000 was made, and as far as can be discovered this was accepted.”.

September 1947: Arrangements were made for the seagoing tug ZEALANDIA  (returning to the Thames from Genoa) to tow her to Leigh-on-Sea and beached at Chalkwell, Essex. She was converted into a Club Headquarters with minimum of structural alteration. The engine room was floored and fitted as a changing room with four bunk rooms etc..

🆕Scan taken from “Four Ships, One Hundred Years of the Essex Yacht Club” by Stuart Readman


Essex Yacht Club

1976: She was replaced by the Trinity House Pilot cutter BEMBRIDGE.

September 25th 1976: Towed away to be broken up at Queenborough, Sheppey.

🆕Scan taken from “Four Ships, One Hundred Years of the Essex Yacht Club” by Stuart Readman

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking:  Essex Yacht Club and Paul Wells @ Dover (Kent) History Pages for their assistance in producing this feature.

Special thanks go to : Barbara Sullivan Hon. Sec, Essex Yacht Club

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)

1 Comment

  1. Found this article interesting, also third picture down showing in the background the cliff top buildings, good one for Dover History Pages .

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