Prince George Opens Harwich Ferry

  • Theme - Events
  • Year - 1924
  • Location - Ipswich
  • Filmmaker - Gaumont Graphic


This film, a newsreel sourced from Belgium TV, marks a milestone in transport history. At 11.00 am on 24th April 1924, the young Prince George performed the opening ceremony of the continental train ferry link between Harwich and Zeebrugge.
Escorted by Sir Cyril Butler and the Mayor Mrs Lucy Hill and other dignitaries, the Prince officially set the bridge in motion at the train ferry terminal. Though the wheel turned by the Prince looked the part, it was just stage dressing – the real operation was controlled elsewhere. The rails from the Quay were designed to fit those on the leaves of the ferry, allowing the trains to continue from land to sea without unloading making the transition much quicker and cost effective. A fleet of three ferries were to operate this service.
It was a successful innovation as the Harwich link continued until 1987.
Prince George arrives with an array of dignitaries. He performs the opening ceremony at Harwich Harbour to inaugurate the train ferry crossing to Zeebrugge. Prince George turns a wheel and the leaves of the ferry lower to meet the Quay. The rails from the Quay fit those on the leaves of the ferry, allowing the trains to continue from land to see without unloading. We see wagons roll onto the ferry. Prince George watches from a balcony. There is a long shot of the crowds watching on the Quay. The ferry, Train Ferry No. 2, leaves. There is a shot of the crowd showing a boat steaming past in the background. Prince George leaves with the dignitaries.


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