City of Westminster in Greater London, England, United Kingdom
The Yacht London
The Yacht London (“St. Katherine”) was commissioned in 1927 as a survey and inspection vessel by the Port of London Authority from boat builders Philip & Son Ltd of Dartmouth for the princely sum of £21,512.
The centrepiece of the vessel was the dual stained glass window (shown above) incorporating the Port of London coat of arms and its motto “Floreat Imperil Portus” meaning “Let The Imperial Port Flourish”.
1939 The Outbreak of War
When war was declared she was commandeered by the Admiralty, fitted with a three pounder and twin Lewis guns and manned by the Royal Navy Reserve Crew as a guardship for the Medway Channel in the Thames Estuary.
In November 1939 enemy aircraft attempted to drop parachute mines into the river to sink Allied shipping and were driven off by the St. Katherine’s fire, thus giving her the proud mantle of the first vessel to engage the enemy in the Port of London.
1946 Return to Service
At the end of hostilities she was released back to the Port of London
Sir Winston Churchill smoked one of his famous cigars over the stern of the Top Deck.
1949 & 1959 Her Majesty The Queen
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, visited the Yacht in 1949 and then again 10 years later.
The original Pathé newsreel footage of the latter visit can be found on our website.
1971 – 2007 Civilian Life
The Yacht was eventually decommissioned from Royal service in 1971 and sold to Robins (Marine) Ltd to be used as a floating restaurant. Her steam engines (which were originally coal fired but later converted to oil) were removed and the engine room refitted with an extensive galley.
However, following numerous changes of ownership in the ensuing years, this once proud vessel ultimately fell into a state of complete disrepair.
2008 Past Glories Reborn
In 2008 a group of enthusiasts began a £750,000 restoration in close consultation with archivists to bring the St. Katherine back to her former glory, retaining and restoring many original features of the Art Deco era with a twist of contemporary design.
The result is “The Yacht London”. That original
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: War, World II • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Art Deco series list.
Location. 51° 30.635′ N, 0° 6.876′ W. Marker is in City of Westminster, England, in Greater London. Marker is at the intersection of Victoria Embankment and Temple Place, on the left when traveling west on Victoria Embankment. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Temple Pier Victoria Embankment, City of Westminster, England WC2R 2PN, United Kingdom. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Isambard Kingdom Brunel (within shouting distance of this marker); Victoria Embankment (within shouting distance of this marker); William Edward Forster (about 120 meters away, measured in a direct line); W.T. Stead (about 150 meters away); Lady Henry Somerset Memorial (about 150 meters away); HQS Wellington (about 150 meters away); King’s Reach (about 180 meters away); RNLI Tower Lifeboat Station (about 210 meters away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in City of Westminster.
Also see . . . Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip tour the Port of London aboard the “St Ka(Submitted on June 5, 2018, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 27, 2022. It was originally submitted on June 5, 2018, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 221 times since then and 87 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 5, 2018, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. 5. submitted on June 6, 2018, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.