Historic SS Robin heads for Royal Docks and ‘welcome home’ by mayor

The world’s last remaining steamcoaster is set to make a dramatic return to the Royal Docks next Wednesday to take her place as a symbol of East London’s transformation in the run up to the 2012 Olympics.

The SS Robin, moored in the Millwall Docks until it went for a refit three years ago in Lowestoft, is making her way back to where she was built more than 120 years ago.

She takes up a temporary mooring to complete final conservation work and may even become a permanent fixture.

The Robin is one of only three ‘Core Collection’ ships on the Thames, alongside the Cutty Sark at Greenwich and HMS Belfast at Tower Bridge—and the only one of these famous ships to have been built in London.

It is due to arrive at Royal Albert Dock, alongside London City Airport, at 11am on July 13, to be ‘welcomed home’ by Newham’s Mayor Sir Robin Wales.

“Mooring this iconic ship is adding another dimension to the transformation of East London,” he said of his namesake.

“The Royal Docks are where London’s future economic growth can thrive, once the largest enclosed docks in the world, the engine room of Victorian Britain.”

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The ship, which was built in 1890 on the nearby River Lea, was moored at Millwall on the Isle of Dogs following its ‘rescue’ from a Spanish scrapyard 15 years ago and run as a floating education centre by the SS Robin Trust.

But it had to move out in 2008 when construction work was being prepared for Crossrail’s new Canary Wharf station. The Robin, meanwhile, has been in for a total refit in Lowestoft to repair its leaking hull.