Tuxedo Royale: Former floating nightclub begins final journey

The Tuxedo Royale is ferried away Image copyright Peter Dodson Media
Image caption Having set sail from Middlesbrough, the Tuxedo Royale will be dismantled at Hartlepool

An "eyesore" former floating nightclub which has been slowly sinking into a river has set off on its final journey.

The Tuxedo Royale, which was originally a ferry, had been docked at Middlesbrough, Teesside, since 2009 after its owners went into administration.

Rusting and attacked by vandals, it was also damaged by fire.

It has now been towed from its mooring and will be dismantled at nearby Hartlepool.

Formerly the British Rail Cross-Channel Ferry TSS Dover, it became a well-known entertainment venue on the River Tyne at Gateshead in the 1980s.

It later moved to the Tees where it became a pre-match attraction for Middlesbrough FC fans, but closed in 2006.

Able UK, which owns both the quay where the vessel had been moored and the one where it will be broken apart, said it had "turned out to be a very sorry and costly saga".

Last year it was estimated its dismantling would cost £1m.

Image copyright Tuxedo Royale Restoration Project
Image caption The Tuxedo Royale attracted thousands of revellers before falling into disrepair

Neil Etherington, the firm's business development director, said: "It had taken up valuable quay space and we had received no payments for its storage.

"At the same time, it became an ever-deteriorating eyesore which has certainly not enhanced the area's profile - quite the reverse."

He added many people would have "fond and abiding memories" of the Tuxedo but said "even the most nostalgic will surely appreciate that this is the conclusion of what, in the end, turned out to be a very sorry and costly saga".

Recent months have seen repairs carried out to enable it to re-float with any remaining asbestos removed from its three top levels.

Campaigners from the Tuxedo Royale Restoration project battled to save the ferry, but in 2017 Middlesbrough Council branded it an "eyesore" and "potentially dangerous".

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