THE renovation of the iconic former Severn Princess Ferry has reached another milestone after the turntable was reinstalled.

After 55 years, the turntable was back on board and was spinning again.

A fleet of ferries – the Severn Princess, King and Queen were used to ferry vehicles and passengers across the Severn between Aust and Beachley until the Severn Bridge was completed in 1966.

The turntable was developed to make vehicles more manoeuvrable on board the deck of the ferry and came to the owner (Enoch Williams’) wife, Ida, one night in a dream, which took her back to 1897, when her late grandfather, had been an engine driver and had shown her “engines revolving on a turn-table.”

The turntable on the Severn Princess has a diameter of 18 feet (5.5 metres) and weighs exactly one tonne.

In the day, cars weighed approximately half a ton each, all pulled around on the turntable by one man with a rope.

The Severn Princess served from 1959 until September 8, 1966.

During this time, the turntable manoeuvred more than half a million vehicles within its seven-year tenure, until the Severn Bridge opened and the ferry service stopped.


When the Princess was sold on to an Irish firm, they concreted the wheels and put kinks in the running rail, as they did not want the turntable to move.

Now, with the ferry back home in Chepstow, the turntable is back on board and moving again.

The whole operation was filmed by ITV for a forthcoming programme called Vanished Wales.

The Severn Princess Preservation Trust is now a charity.

Tim Ryan, trust chairman, said: “What a momentous day.

"None of this would have been possible without the efforts of the hardworking volunteers and without the collaboration and cooperation of Barratts, Hackwood Fabrication Solutions, Taylormade Energy Solutions, Chepstow Chamber of Commerce and Chambers Wales.

"We can’t thank them all enough. It’s been an incredible effort, it really has – and all captured on film."