The Bordein was one of five paddle steamers ordered from Samuda Brothers of London from 1862 by the Khedive for their Ottoman use to expand Egyptian rule in Sudan and, following transportation to Egypt, seems to have been re-assembled in Cairo in 1867. The sisters were used for a number of campaigns including those of Sir Samuel Baker and later for Romolo Gessi’s project to explore the Upper Nile and suppress the slave trade.
The Bordein was the last vessel to leave Khartoum in the siege of 1884, in which General Gordon lost his life, and was used by the Mahdi until 1898. She subsequently became a wood transporter and was restored in 1936 as a national monument in preparation for the Coronation of King Edward VIII. She then fell into disuse and in 2006 her iron hull was cut into sections for scrapping.
However, the Bordein is clearly a survivor as a little thing like being cut up didn’t stop her. Now she is being put back together again at Khartoum with a view to being a focus for attracting tourists to Sudan.
Although a little bigger, her basic hull design is similar to our own Kingswear Castle’s.
Work proceeds close to the shore of the Nile.
Her engine, now in bits and pieces and a bit of a jigsaw to re-assemble, is by John Penn of Greenwich.
In 1896 the same company made the compound diagonal engine for the Duke of Devonshire. She became Cosens’s Consul in 1938 and survived until 1968 when she was scrapped at Southampton.
All of us at Kingswear Castle wish this restoration project every success and are pleased to hear that it seems to be paying off already.
Khartoum State’s Minister of Culture, Media and Tourism, Mohamed Awad al-Barodi said “It is already starting to attract tourists. We were astonished recently when two buses of European tourists came to the area.”
For more details have a look at the News feature here.
Pictures courtesy of the University of Durham Sudan Archive, Robert Turner, Michael Mallinson & Tony Horn.
Kingswear Castle returned to service in 2023 after the first part of a major rebuild which is designed to set her up for the next 25 years running on the River Dart. The Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust is now fund raising for the second phase of the rebuild. You can read more about the rebuilds and how you can help if you can here.