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Report - Tuxedo Royale - Middlesbrough - July 2014


Is this the future?
Regular User
The Tuxedo Royale (ex-TSS Dover) is a former turbine steamship, built in 1965 by the British Railway to serve as a car ferry. Her overall length measures to 112.5 metres (369ft) overall, with a capacity of 820 DWT (deadweight tonnage), and she was capable of travelling at 19.5kts. During the course of her service she was renamed twice; first in 1977 to Earl Siward, and again in 1982 to the Sol Express when she was transformed into a Mediterranean passenger ship. In September 1983, however, the Sol Express was involved in a rescue operation, amid armed conflict between Lebanese Christian soldiers and Muslim Militia. The fighting across one particular port near Beirut became so intense that the port itself was closed and the staff from the local American Embassy required evacuation. By some means, after receiving an emergency call, the ship managed to sail into the port and rescue the American workforce. All the same, by 1993, her name changed once more, to the Tuxedo Royale, as she was converted into a floating nightclub; the second of two.

For much of her life the Tuxedo Royale was moored in Middlesbrough, on the River Tees, although she briefly served in Newcastle upon Tyne whilst the sister ship – The Tuxedo Princess – was temporarily moved to Glasgow. A local Tyneside businessman and owner of the popular Tuxedo Junction nightclub in Newcastle, named Michael Quadrini, developed the idea and successfully put the initiative into operation. By 2005, though, it was rumoured that Middlesbrough council had ambitious plans to develop the immediate area around the Tuxedo Royale, and so the vessel was forced to move. Although Quadrini claimed that there were plans to re-launch the nightclub elsewhere, nothing materialised and for a time the Tuxedo Royale was left to rot in the old asbestos contaminated ‘ghost ship’ graveyard in Hartlepool. For some reason or another, some years later she was moved back to the crumbling remains of ABLE Port in Middlesbrough and has since begun to sink in the River Tees, on account of metal thieves.

The Tuxedo Royale has been on the list of potential explores for a long time - we had planned to investigate the sinking remains some time ago, however, after hearing about its removal from Middlesbrough’s dockland area we gradually forgot all about it. Last month, though, we heard a rumour that it was in fact still moored in Middlesbrough, so we quickly set out to make the most of it! Getting to the sinking vessel wasn’t a problem, but getting onboard looked to be a challenge. Nevertheless, after some careful consideration and planning, we managed to board the rusting mass and set about exploring every inch; as was viably possible, considering some of the lower decks are entirely underwater. Regardless of the disorientating angle of the ship, every minute of the venture was excellent, especially in the old engine rooms and below decks where our gloomy shadows bounced erratically as they were reflected by the surrounding waters. There is mud absolutely everywhere, revealing where the water levels have levelled when the tide is in and, much by my own imagination, it felt like we were extras in the film ‘Titanic’. On the whole, despite the vandalism and obvious metal theft, the Tuxedo Royale is still a good explore and there remains plenty to see.

NOTE: Apologies for the ‘pic-heavy’ report – there were hundreds of photographs to sift through, and I was only able to narrow it down to these displayed in this report.

1: The Tuxedo Royale from The Tees Transporter Bridge


2: The Tuxedo Royale


3: On Board the Sinking Vessel


4: En-route to the Helm of the Ship


5: Ship's Alarm System


6: The Helm


7: Tuxedo Royale Leaflets


8: Upper Deck - Staircase to Dance Floors Below


9: Upstairs Dance Floor/Club Room


10: Upstairs Dance Floor and Bar


11: Vessel Beginning to Break Apart


12: Second Upstairs Dance Floor and Bar


13: Glassware Storage Cupboard


14: Old Display TV


15: The Sunset Bar


16: Incredibly Muddy Lower Section of the Ship - Floods When the Tide is In


17: A Scene from the Titanic?


18: Lower Deck Dance Floor


19: Kitchens


20: Enjoying an Iconic View from a Lifeboat


21: Rear End of the Vessel


22: Front End of the Vessel


23: Dials and Gauges in the Engine Room


24: Inside the Main Funnel


25: Rusted Valve


26: The Tuxedo Royale Display Sign


27: Inside the Hull - At the Front of the Vessel


28: The Remains of the Tuxedo Royale



28DL Regular User
Regular User
Well done for getting on, still on my to do list is this thanks for sharing and the update as to its current state, lovely pics there.


Poison Ivy
28DL Full Member
This is brilliant! Bet it was buzzing in it's day! Looks like a great explore. Might have to find some ships to explore next.. Something a bit different. Nice work :)

Squirrell 911

Staff member
Nice one :thumb. A few years back Dempsey and I got to within 20ft of it only to see secca with 2 german shepards which he kindly let off the lead. They chased us to the roadside which as you will know is a good distance then they wanted to play the little f00kers. :) funny thing is we nicked the collars off both dogs so he would have had a fun time getting the leads back on. :D


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Very nice m8. I'd be a bit dubious not being a fan of places with deep water but it looks awesome from here haha....


Is this the future?
Regular User
Nice one :thumb. A few years back Dempsey and I got to within 20ft of it only to see secca with 2 german shepards which he kindly let off the lead. They chased us to the roadside which as you will know is a good distance then they wanted to play the little f00kers. :) funny thing is we nicked the collars off both dogs so he would have had a fun time getting the leads back on. :D
You sure they were secca lol? Some dodgy folk around there! They happily re-jigged our entry point while we were below decks, so getting off was a bit more interesting lol.

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