Last call for Caroline

Published: 03:03PM Mar 15th, 2012

WE ARE all huge supporters of HMS Caroline and we all support the need to make sure that she has a secure future – so congratulations and success to Old Glory, Jim Hatfield and all the HMS Caroline supporters.

However, may we gently point out that Jim’s assertion in OG 263 that ‘we have now destroyed all our First World War survivors apart from Monitor M33 and HMS Caroline is not 100% correct.

HMS President (1918) was built as HMS Saxifrage in 1918 – and she is still here. She’s on the Thames, on the Kings Reach, by Blackfriars, and paying her way, with between 200 and 2000 users per day and in use every day including Christmas Day, often till 2am, sometimes later. Turnover is £1.5 million and rising, and that’s achieved with a regular crew of 11.

HMS President currently rents cabins as offices to 10 (sometimes more) ever-changing ‘start up businesses’, who have between them 100-120 staff. They use the lower deck of the ship from 8am-8pm, five days a week. The crew also operates a ‘drop in’ business club, currently with 40 members, and also manages on the main and upper deck, a 24/7 corporate entertainment programme with some 350 events a year ranging from fashion shows to mayoral banquets.

Finally the same ship hosts an international press and TV agency (IHA) which broadcasts live TV many times a day from the upper wheelhouse to Eastern Europe and beyond to Moscow and Eastern Russia.

It’s wonderful to read the director general of the National Museum of the Royal Navy saying “HMS Caroline is the equal of any of our great cathedrals.”

We hope he can be equally proud of his other First World War inheritance, still toiling away after 94 years and having fun, just a few 100 metres upstream of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Chris Cooper,
HMS President, London

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