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Bristol’s Thekla to receive £1m dry dock overhaul

DHP Family’s famous floating venue Thekla will be taken into dry dock for a £1 million overhaul to secure its next 50 years as one of the UK’s most unique music venues

By Anna Grace on 01 Apr 2019

Thekla overhaul, Bristol


DHP Family-owned Thekla (400-cap.), the award-winning live music boat venue based in Bristol, UK, is to be taken into dry dock on Monday 3 June for a £1 million overhaul to secure the boat’s next 50 years as a venue and club.

Ahead of the overhaul, Thekla will celebrate its 35th anniversary weekend from Thursday 2 to Saturday 5 May, with acts including BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, drum and bass artist Roni Size, rock group October Drift and Hessle Audio co-founder Pangaea.

Built in 1958, a new steel offset hull will be welded to the whole of the boat’s existing hull. A recent detailed survey showed that the current hull is near the end of its life, despite regular, routine inspections and repairs.

“There’s a lot of love for Thekla in Bristol, around the country and worldwide. Both music fans and bands like Florence and the Machine, White Denim, Mumford and Sons, Ellie Goulding and many others who have played there over the years have taken part in some great nights,” says George Akins of DHP Family.

“We’re committed to preserving that heritage and that’s why we’re getting the new hull fitted – we need to make sure that Thekla continues to be a great night out for the next 50 years,” adds Akins.

“There’s a lot of love for Thekla in Bristol, around the country and worldwide […] we need to make sure that Thekla continues to be a great night out for the next 50 years”

At over 50 metres in length, Thekla is one of the longest ships in Bristol’s floating harbour. Repairs will be undertaken in the grade two listed Albion dry dock, which reopened in 2018 to allow maintenance and repair to be carried out on large ships in the city.

“We are very pleased to be undertaking works on Thekla and so secure her long term future in Bristol,” comments Martin Childs, co-owner of the Albion Dock Company. “Equally, her visit to the Albion Dockyard helps our venture in bringing this historic facility back to full time use as a working dry dock.”

Thekla will return to its usual position in Bristol’s floating harbour and reopen to the public in early September 2019. The Thekla team will announce the exact date of its reopening through its website and social media channels.

In 2017, DHP called on supporters to back its #savethekla campaign amid fears that noise complaints would cause the venue to close following the approval of a new housing development adjacent to the venue.

More information about the Thekla 35th anniversary celebrations can be found here.


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