SOUTHAMPTON'S historic steamship will celebrate her 66th birthday by sailing to one of the Solent's best-known landmarks.

The SS Shieldhall will travel to the 90ft Nab Tower tomorrow in a move that will rekindle memories of the days when she was used by Southern Water.

Another cruise the following day will mark 200 years of steamships operating out of Southampton.

Shieldhall is back on the water after spending six days in dry dock at Falmouth and has already staged cruises to mark Father’s Day and American Independence Day.

Daily Echo:

Chief operations officer Phil Stephens said: "The team from A&P in Falmouth did Shieldhall proud. A lot of work was undertaken, including cleaning and repainting of the hull.

"The Maritime and Coastguard Agency conducted inspections, surveying the underside of the ship and the condition of the propeller, propeller shaft and tail shaft, together with other pieces of equipment."

Built at Renfrew in the mid-1950s, Shieldhall was used by Glasgow Corporation to take sludge to dumping grounds near the Firth of Clyde.

She performed a similar task for Southern Water between 1980-1985, transporting material from Marchwood, Millbrook and Woolston to an area off the Isle of Wight.

Shieldhall spokesman Nigel Philpott said: "Her daily trips to the ‘dumping grounds’ saw Shieldhall pass the Nab, and Saturday's cruise will be an opportunity for passengers to get up close and to see if it really does – as local legend has it – lean to one side.

"Sunday’s cruise will mark 200 years of steamships operating out of Southampton.

"Held over from 2020, the trip will mark the anniversary of the Prince of Cobourg commencing her maiden voyage from Southampton to the Isle of Wight."

The Nab Tower was built in 1918 as part of a plan to protect the south coast from German submarines during the First World War. But the conflict ended before it could be used and the £1m structure became a lighthouse.

It was staffed by a team of keepers for more than 60 years but was automated in 1983 and has been unmanned ever since.