The New Medway Steam Packet Co Ltd was formed in 1985 by local residents to preserve and restore the historic paddle steamer, the Medway Queen. Built in 1924 by Ailsa Shipbuilding, the steamer rescued 7,000 British and French troops in the Dunkirk evacuation during WWII. Trusthouse Charitable Foundation supported the New Medway Steam Packet in the second phase of a full-scale restoration project with £20,000 to refit the engine room and refurbish the aft saloon to provide a dining space.
The long term aim is that the Medway Queen will serve as a museum, exhibition space and function centre, with the ability to steam between locations. The ship will thus become an educational and historic resource, as well as operating as a tourist attraction to boost the local economy.