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Tuxedo Princess


Tuxedo PrincessThe Tuxedo Princess was a floating nightclub converted from a former car ferry, the TSS Caledonian Princess. It was moored by the Tyne Bridge on the Gateshead Quayside and opened in December 1983. Nicknamed locally as "The Boat" it was famed for its revolving dance floor. The vessel was temporarily replaced by its sister ship, the Tuxedo Royale, when the Tuxedo Princess was moved to Glasgow. When the Tuxedo Princess returned, the Tuxedo Royale was moved to Middlesbrough. The nightclub closed at the end of 2007 and following a large farewell party the Tuxedo Princess was finally towed away down the Tyne on the 27th July 2008 destined for Greece to becoma floating casino.

The Tuxedo Princess (ex-TSS Caledonian Princess) and Tuxedo Royale (ex-TSS Dover) were two former car ferries used as permanently moored floating nightclubs in the United Kingdom from the 1980s to the 2000s. Both ships saw use on the River Tyne at different times, while the Princess also saw use on the River Clyde in Glasgow, and the Royale on the River Tees in Middlesbrough.

Locations

The Tuxedo Princess was the first of the two floating nightclubs, moored on the Tyne. When the Tuxedo Princess was briefly moved to Glasgow, the Tuxedo Royale took up her position. When the Tuxedo Princess returned, the Tuxedo Royale was moved to Middlesbrough.

Inception

The idea of buying a second-hand ship to serve as a floating nightclub to be moored on the Tyne originated with Tyneside-based businessman Michael Quadrini, who already owned the popular Tuxedo Junction nightclub in Newcastle, and several bars, and was looking for a larger venue. And so he purchased the Caledonian Princess, renaming her the Tuxedo Princess. the vessel been built in 1961 as a car ferry, in which role it served until 1981. The later Tuxedo Royale was also a former car ferry, the Dover, built in 1965.

Originally the Tuxedo Princess was to be moored on the Newcastle side of the Tyne, but after failing to get planning consent, she was moored on the south bank, the Gateshead waterfront. When it first opened in December 1983, the club had a strict dress code for patrons, while the staff all wore naval uniforms, a tradition carried on by resident DJ Chris King, who worked in a US Naval officer's uniform.

Music and marketing

The music policy on both ships was contemporary dance, with some specialisations, notably on board Tuxedo Royale, which benefitted from two club areas. For some time, week-nights included a student session playing rock and alternative, with weekends featuring pop-dance in the below-decks club played by DJ King, while DJ Tim Prince played soul, jazz, funk, and later NY house and garage, in the upstairs First Class Lounge.

Both ships boasted restaurants and a variety of bars. Early-evening 'triples' deals offered three shots of spirits in a glass for the price of a single shot, and played a role in encouraging clubbers on board earlier than would otherwise have been the case. Door and wet take were the mainstay of revenue, with the restaurants functioning largely as loss-leaders.

Impact

According to the BBC, the Tuxedo Princess became a Tyneside icon during her stay, one of the most recognisable landmarks of the region. According to the Evening Chronicle, in her heyday the Tuxedo Princess was "a celebrity haunt", and she became affectionately known as The Boat by Geordies.

While moored in the Tyne, the Tuxedo Princess was host to several famous people including the Crown Prince of Denmark, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, actor Kevin Costner, DJ Noel Edmonds, comedian Freddie Starr, singers Mick Hucknall, Rick Astley, Nik Kershaw and Jason Donovan, pop group Frankie Goes to Hollywood, the cast of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, athlete Daley Thompson, cricketer Ian Botham, footballers Kevin Keegan and Paul Gascoigne, and snooker player Steve Davis. She also played a role in the lives of famous Geordie people. Singer Cheryl originally worked on the Tuxedo Princess before becoming a singer, while actor Tim Healy proposed to his future wife Denise Welch on board the club.

In popular culture, the Tuxedo Princess was used by the BBC to film scenes for a storyline in the Newcastle-based television drama Our Friends in the North, in which the character Terry 'Tosker' Cox (Mark Strong), a Tyneside businessman, opens a floating nightclub on the Tyne.

In the Maxïmo Park song "In Another World", from their third album Quicken The Heart, the "revolving dancefloor in the middle of the river" refers to the famous revolving dancefloor on board.

Fate

Tuxedo Princess

In December 2007 a farewell party for 300 invited guests was held on the Tuxedo Princess. The ship was finally towed from her mooring on the Tyne on 27 July 2008. Describing it as "the end of an era", according to the BBC there were mixed reactions to the removal of the Tuxedo Princess, citing one expressed view of nostalgia for the nightclub's role in the city's night life, and another welcoming removal of an eyesore, opening up new views of the bridges. According to the Evening Chronicle, crowds gathered to watch the ship's departure. Despite hopes of a future in Greece, Tuxedo Princess was scrapped in Turkey. The quayside area vacated by the Tuxedo Princess was to be redeveloped into a leisure, restaurant and office complex. As of the 2018 summer, the area now hosts the Gateshead riverside shipping container village.

Tuxedo Royale

In May 2011, the Tuxedo Royale started to sink into the River Tees due to vandalism by metal thieves.

In June 2014 businessman Terry Owens started a campaign to restore the vessel from a nearby dry dock, which would cost in the region of £250,000. The intention was to apply for lottery funding to finance the works.

In June 2017, the Tuxedo Royale was badly damaged by fire whilst docked on the river

In January 2018 work began on demolition of the Tuxedo Royale to allow the dockside to be used once again for commercial traffic.

Text from Wikipedia, available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (accessed: 15/02/2019).
Visit the page: Tuxedo floating nightclubs for references and further details. You can contribute to this article on Wikipedia.
Gateshead Quays Tyne Bridge Ships
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055201:Newcastle bridges Newcastle upon Tyne City Engineers 1985

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044891:Tyne Bridge at dusk. City Engineers Newcastle City Council. 1984

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059601:Tall Ships Fireworks Display Newcastle upon Tyne City Engineers 1993

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052111:Tyne Bridge at night. Unknown. 1986

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065986:Tyne Bridge Gateshead c1990s

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Tuxedo Princess floating nightclub leaves the River Tyne

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Tyne Bridge and Tuxedo Princess

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The Tuxedo Princess and the Tyne Bridge - view from the roof of The Castle Keep - Newcastle

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The Tuxedo Princess

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Tuxedo Princess Leaving #4

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One last look.

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Ships
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Gangway

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Tuxedo Royal by Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough

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