Moored at the wharf in front of the M Shed is the Museum’s fleet of historic boats. Steam tug Mayflower, Fire boat Pyronaut and Tugboat John King are part of the M Shed Working Exhibit.
Fire float Pyronaut served in Bristol from 1934 until 1973, working particularly hard in the World War 2 1940-41 Blitz. In 1940, Pyronaut was faced with her most challenging fire-fighting period, as the air raids of the Bristol blitz damaged and destroyed countless warehouses, factories, shops and homes around the Floating Harbour. During this time, she was constantly manned and worked through some of the worst raids of the war.
The following is reproduced from the M Shed’s own website:
“Pyronaut was a crucial part of the docks’ fire-fighting service for about 40 years.
Built in Bristol in 1934, Pyronaut (originally named ‘Phoenix II’) worked from the Prince Street Bridge river police station. She had a crew of three firemen, including an engineer who was based in the engine room.
In 1940, Pyronaut was faced with her most challenging fire-fighting period, as the air raids of the Bristol Blitz damaged and destroyed countless warehouses, factories, shops and homes around the Floating Harbour.
By the late 1960s, Pyronaut’s equipment had become worn out and obsolete and in 1973 she was put up for sale. She eventually came into our care and was completely restored. You can now see her on Princes Wharf in front of M Shed and in full water-spraying action at events in the Harbour.”
Pyronaut is part of the National Historic Ships core collection register.
+44 (0)1173 526 600
M Shed’s large working exhibits are operated by volunteers. Occasionally crew shortages, mechanical difficulties or adverse weather conditions may force them to alter or cancel the advertised event.
We advise you to check directly with them to avoid disappointment by calling the contact number above.