It was built in the same Belfast shipyard as RMS Titanic in 1911 and spent decades working the River Severn, now the Ribchic Piranha is to be reborn as The Showman – a new floating restaurant at Gloucester Docks.
Businessman Marcus Hyland bought the boat in 2017 when the one-time converted tanker came to the end of its days ferrying passengers between Worcester and Stourport and serving as a floating pub.
Worcester’s Diglis Basin has been re-fitting the 75-foot-long vessel since then, ready to relaunch it as The Showman – a café bistro Mr Hyland hopes to moor permanently in the main Docks basin in Gloucester.
If the city council gives the go-ahead, customers will be able to enjoy alfresco dining on the top deck of the boat with food cooked in the newly fitted kitchens below.
There is no detail yet on the menu, but the business has also asked the city council for permission to operate as a takeaway.
Danny Sullivan, of Stonehouse-based DesignForLiving Architects, hired by Mr Hyland for the project, said: ‘We are currently hoping it will go through planning. It is going to be a really exciting new addition to the Docks.’
Mr Sullivan, who also worked on the plans which saw the Docks buildings converted into offices in the late 1980s, said the original idea was for the boat to be moored in the Barge Arm, but the water had proved too shallow.
When fully up and running The Showman will employ five staff.
By Andrew Merrell
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