Thekla Makes A Splash With £500k Upgrade

18th September 2014  |  Category:  Uncategorized

The Thekla – Bristol’s iconic boat venue – has returned to its home at East Mud Dock this week following a major three-month £500,000 refurbishment by owner DHP Family.

The Bristol institution at the heart of the city’s music scene re-opens to the public with its Pressure club night on September 18, following 13 weeks in dry dock having a complete overhaul inside and out.

Owned by DHP Family since 2006, the boat moored in the city’s Floating Harbour welcomes around 100,000 visitors a year, and celebrated its 30th birthday in May this year.

Work outside has included repainting the hull in a black, grey and red livery. While the ship was out of the water for the first time in eight years, the opportunity was taken to carefully remove the Grim Reaper by street artist Banksy to protect it from further erosion. The work is now on long-term loan to the M-Shed museum and is expected to go on display before Christmas following a programme of assessment and conservation.

A new piece of artwork commissioned from the Bristol-born artist Inkie as part of a plan to continue supporting street art in the city can now be seen on the hull. Every few months, Thekla will invite a different artist to come and paint a new piece onto the panel, with the boat offering a blank canvas as a rolling exhibition space.

Inside, the extensive overhaul has seen the top deck reconfigured to create more space and offer more windows views across the water. Other notable changes include increasing the number of toilets; soundproofing to the hull and smoking area; new outside seating; new floors; a new staircase and an additional entrance to improve the traffic flow in and around the venue.

George Akins, DHP Family owner, said: “We’re delighted with the results of the overhaul to the Thekla. It’s a bit more challenging to carry a refurbishment to a boat so we made the most of having it in dry dock to make a lot of changes that will really have a positive impact on everyone’s enjoyment of their time on the boat. We’re now looking forward to getting back into action with a busy autumn schedule of gigs and club nights.”

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