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ON BOARD THE PENELOPE A (ex-HORSA) continued
matt@hhvferry.com
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ABOVE: Heading outside again from the self-service restaurant gives the chance to explore the Penelope A's extensive open deck space. As built, In addition to the enclosed side promenades on A Deck, space was available above on Boat Deck with additional, open, promenades running forward on either side of the ship, aft where a large number of grey/white fibreglass deck seats were installed, plus a small enclosure below overlooking the stern mooring equipment on B Deck. The area around and forward beyond the funnel on Bridge Deck was opened up after 1986, with the removal of the aft docking bridge, and access was available right up to the main bridge, where it was possible to look inside from the wings. As built this section of deck was designed with easy access from the main wheelhouse to the stern bridge in mind, offering a clear run along Bridge Deck, past the funnel, dropping down directly into the stern wheelhouse via a pair of cantilevered stairways. With the aft bridge removed, these stairways were in the perfect position to allow passenger access to the upper deck.

In Greece, the decks have been extended towards the stern, with awnings added elsewhere to protect passengers from the sun. The picture above shows the view looking forward on Boat Deck.
ABOVE: Up on Bridge Deck, looking forward with the Tony Rogan-design funnel looking as splendid as ever.
ABOVE: Looking aft on the starboard side of Bridge Deck, adjacent to the bridge itself.
ABOVE: One final area of passenger accommodation of note on the Penelope A are the Distinguished Class cabins on Boat Deck. These are housed in former senior crew cabins and are accessed off the forward lobby at this level. This picture shows the latter space looking over to starboard with the Belsky mural reaching the end of its three-deck journey up from B Deck to the left.
ABOVE: Inside the cabins can be found original artwork. This copy of Colin Hayes' 'South Bank' hangs in the former Chief Deck Officer's cabin.
ABOVE: Concluding the tour is a representative reminder of what could be considered an example of the mundane or trivial but which nonetheless contributes in small part towards building a ship's character. Being by definition less ephemeral due its discreet nature. signage is often left in place whilst original lounges are swept away by the keen refurbishments of new owners. Thankfully, on the former Horsa, there is much more to enjoy than just this, but when looking at the "archaeology of ferries", old signage is often all that is left as a clue of an old ship's former lives. The picture shows a poorly-maintained British Rail-era sign aboard the Penelope A. The directions themselves remain largely relevant, but this might be more due to luck than judgement. BR's 'rail alphabet' with its clear, legible font and standard symbols is quickly recognisible even in this run-down state.
ABOVE: The self service cafeteria aboard the Penelope A in 2004. To the left, beyond the low dividers, is the alleyway along which passengers queue from the entrance (astern) to the food servery area forward (visible in the background). Although the seating has been reupholstered, this space is otherwise unchanged from its guise as The Pantry, as it emerged after the 1986 refit.
ABOVE & BELOW: The self service restaurant as it was in the Sealink days: Above - as The Pantry after 1986; Below - in its original guise (picture from the Hengist). As built the seating was, like the main restaurant, flame red in colour but in this case arranged into blocks with etched glass panels showing a fern dividing the side tables.

As The Pantry, much of the original "cubby-hole" seating was replaced by free-standing metal chairs and the etched glass panels made way for some lower-level brass-coloured metalwork, a standard Sealink British Ferries fitting from the period which in many cases continues to adorn many old SBF ships. The walls became a sandy-brown colour at the same time with small paintings complete with individual display lights.
ABOVE & BELOW: The servery area is very much still The Pantry (from Penelope A, 2004).