The Bordein Paddle Steamer
In 2010 Mallinson Architects were commissioned by Khartoum’s Ministry of Culture to conduct the restoration of the historic Bordein paddle steamer, including the design of a landscaped garden and museum for the restored steamer, located along Khartoum’s Nile bank beside the historic mud Tabia Fort.
The Bordein is the oldest surviving paddle steamer on the Nile, and the second oldest in the world. She is only eight years younger than the Skibladner, which is the world’s oldest operational paddle steamer. The Bordein’s history recalls not only the period of creation of the Modern Sudanese State, but also the exploration of the River Nile in the 19th C. She is also identified with the peaceful rescue of civilians, thus also reflects the early humanitarian development of Sudan. Unfortunately, after such a significant history, the Bordein had been chopped into pieces, abandoned in the reeds alongside the Nile in a state of decay.
The Bordein’s restoration and new museum has brought together elements of Sudanese and technological history for educational and conservation reasons. To date, the Bordein has been transported from its previous location on the opposite bank of the Nile, and restored by an iron conservation expert from the SS Great Britain project. The viewing platform surrounding the Bordein, and the hard landscaping for the garden and museum area has now been completed and includes an outdoor performance area. The Bordein is now regularly visited and performances regularly take place within the performance area. Construction of the new museum and café, to be located within the garden area alongside the restored Bordein, is scheduled to begin in late 2017.