Abandoned Ship Is Reborn as a Canvas

Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
July 5 2013 12:30 PM

Rusting Ship Transformed Into Gallery of Street Art

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a new travel blog. Like us on FacebookTumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

This rusting passenger ship, beached for decades on the Welsh River Dee, is currently transforming into a giant canvas for street artists from around the world.

Built in 1956, the Duke of Lancaster originally operated as a ferry and cruise ship. By 1979 it was out of service, but not out of use. Docked near the small village of Mostyn, the Duke became "The Fun Ship," an '80s entertainment venue featuring restaurants, bars, and arcades. The Fun, however, was short-lived—plans to transform the ship into a 300-room hotel never materialized, and the local council's safety concerns forced the closure of the venue in 1985. 

Advertisement

The Duke sat quietly in the sand, its arcade machines gathering dust. But another reinvention came in 2012, courtesy of local street art collective DuDug. Operating under a simple philosophy—"Your ship looked like s--t so we painted it!"—DuDug recruited artists to paint their work on the ship's hull. The Duke's exterior is now covered with art, including a businessman in a balaclava, a geisha holding a fan, and a 30-foot-tall trio of chimps in suits.

Despite the anti-authority theme of much of the artwork, DuDug's transformation project is taking place with the permission of the ship's owners. The group hopes that the Duke will eventually become a gallery, forming the focal point for art festivals and drawing more visitors to the quiet region.

Ships living a second life:


View 53.306980, -3.235334 in a larger map

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?