Watch: Known locally as 'The Boat', this is the story of the Tuxedo Princess nightclub

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It was known to locals at 'The Boat' and to others as the Tuxedo Princess, but how did a former car ferry become one of the North East's most popular nightclubs?

The Tuxedo Princess, or 'The Boat' as it was known, was a former car ferry turned nightclub which was permanently moored on the River Tyne for a time in the 1980s and then the early 2000s.

But how did it manage to become one of the region's most popular nightspots?

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The story begins when the "The Boat" started life as the "SS Caledonian Princess" when it was built in Dumbarton, Scotland, in 1961.

The vessel was bought by the British Transport Board, which went on to become British Rail, and it operated as a car ferry in the Irish sea until 1981.

The Tuxedo Princess. Photo: Newcastle Libraries.The Tuxedo Princess. Photo: Newcastle Libraries.
The Tuxedo Princess. Photo: Newcastle Libraries. | Newcastle Libraries

It was then almost sold to a buyer in West Africa before it was purchased by Michael Quadrini, who ran Newcastle's most popular nightspot at the time, Tuxedo Junction.

Quadrini wanted more floor space for his venues and hoped to moor the vessel on the Newcastle-side of the River Tyne.

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However, his plans were thwarted when the Council would not grant him an alcohol licence; however, he was able to secure one in Gateshead.

Quadrini transformed the vessel to include eight bars, various discos, an Italian restaurant, a BBQ on the top deck and it even kept the revolving platform from its days as a car ferry to be used as a revolving dancefloor - the nightclub's signature feature.

When "The Boat" opened for the first time in December 1983, it was marketed as "the largest floating leisure complex in Europe" with the capacity to hold thousands of people.

Initially the Tuxedo Princess was only on the River Tyne from when it opened until 1988 before it went up to Glasgow, where it remained for 10 years.

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The popular venue then returned to Newcastle for another 10 years before it closed for good in 2007 after Gateshead Council started to regenerate its side of the Tyne.

The Tuxedo Princess was towed from its mooring on the River Tyne in July 2008, when it was sailed to Greece to a breakers' yard to be scrapped once and for all.

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