The Duke of Lancaster ship may not be something you've heard of, but after looking at these pictures, it'll definitely be something you want to forget.
The ship was originally a cruise liner in the 1950s, traveling thousands of miles across open water. It was one of the last passenger-only steamers built for British Railways, and was designed to be both a ferry and a cruise ship.
About 10 years after its inaugural voyage, the Duke of Lancaster began losing business as a ferry, as car ferries began to rise in popularity. British Railways made the decision to convert the ship from a dual-use vessel to strictly a cruise ship. The ship was remodeled, and could now accommodate 1200 people, 105 cars, and 400 cabin accommodations.
The ship was in use from 1956-1979, when it sailed its final journey. It retired in North Wales, where it was considered "The Fun Ship" that people could visit. However, met with many legal battles, the business closed in in the mid 1980s.
The ship has remained closed ever since, but the interior has not been touched. The ship's owner, John Rowley, has allowed street artists to tag the ship and leave their mark, but only a few people have been allowed inside.
Recently however, a group of people gained access into the Duke of Lancaster, and documented the entire thing in pictures.
Now, I'm not one to usually believe in haunted things...but this might have me convinced.
Right off the bat, the ship looks creepy because of all the tagging on it. Any time there's a portrait of three giant monkeys, regardless of where it is, I'm immediately put off.
Then, once you step inside, it's like you're transported back into 1979. There's this eerie feeling that you've traveled back in time, and frankly I don't care for it. You almost expect the crew and passengers to emerge.
Look at those menu prices!
Did someone ransack this desk, or was the secretary just really messy? We'll never know.
This is all creepy to me, just based off the time frame alone. But it's the description on this next sign that freaks me out.
CIRCUS ARENA? I BEG YOUR PARDON? So many questions, so little answers. Of course, these photographers didn't get freaked out by the thought of rotting clown corpses in the basement, so they continued on their journey.
Okay, so the movie theater part isn't too bad, but this mouse needs to be painted over.
What they found next, though, was a bit of a modern twist.
Oliver Moazzezi, who took all the photographs, had heard about an arcade that was built inside the ship, but no one had ever seen it. He tried to track down the owner of the ship so he could get a first-hand look at the machines inside.
I spent eight months trying to contact the owners of the place I could see the games in," Moazzezi said. "I phoned the council, I phoned the Post Office (yeah I really did!) in the town and phoned everywhere, each time getting another clue in the puzzle that would lead me to the owners of this place that had the games in. I finally contacted the owners in January 2011 after going through the said local councils, local shops (you name it) and finally got in contact with a family member."
This family member put me in contact with the owners and we started talking. Two things came out of that.
- The arcade machines were for sale
- I could go see them!
Inside the abandoned ship was a full arcade, put in when the Duke of Lancaster turned into The Fun Ship. The coin-operated machines were left behind to collect dust, but Moazzezi was able to capture some creepy pictures of them. I mean, I guess there's really nothing wrong with the machines, but the whole aura I get from them is weird. They've just been sitting there for 30 years.
Seeing all these games in almost pristine condition, despite being almost three decades old, is a little freaky. Being in an abandoned ship doesn't help anything, either.
All the machines ended up getting sold to video game enthusiasts, who carted the vintage items off the ship to be restored and used for entertainment.
I guess I can admit that seeing inside this abandoned ship is pretty cool, but that doesn't mean I'll be going on a tour of it anytime soon.