20 July—27 October 2024

John King trips

Take a trip on the harbour on the John King – a 1935 diesel tug built to tow cargo ships from Bristol City Docks to the mouth of the River Avon.

Built by the last major Bristol shipbuilder, John King spent 35 years towing on the river. She also had special duties, which included supplying drinking water to ships in dry dock, assisting at ship launchings and putting vessels into dry dock and occasionally pulling grounded vessels back into deep water.

But as trade to the Bristol docks declined and motor ships became less reliant on tugs, John King’s workload gradually disappeared. Eventually she was bought by Bristol Museums and fully restored to her former glory.

Dates for 2024

  • Saturday 20 July
  • Sunday 21 July
  • Saturday 31 August
  • Sunday 1 September
  • Saturday 28 September
  • Sunday 29 September
  • Saturday 5 October
  • Sunday 6 October

Additional information

M Shed’s large working exhibits are operated by volunteers. Occasionally crew shortages, mechanical difficulties or adverse weather conditions may force us to alter or cancel the advertised event. We advise you to check directly with us to avoid disappointment by calling 0117 352 6600.

Read more about John King over on the Working Exhibits section.

Image credit: Neil Phillips

More rides on the Working Exhibits