The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group has announced a £200,000 investment in Penzance Dry Dock.

The dock, which was established in 1834 and is among the oldest in the UK, will have its roof and sides completely replaced with high specification plastisol coated steel sheeting.

Penzance-based Celtic Scaffolding will be erecting scaffolding around the dock ready for work to start on the project in early August, with specialist contractor JDB carrying out the roofing and recladding. It is expected to take two to three months to complete.

Rob Goldsmith, Chief Executive of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said: “Penzance Dry Dock occupies a prominent position on the waterfront and the approach to Penzance promenade and our investment will not only improve its appearance but create a better working environment. The dock is an important part of our business providing a valuable maintenance facility for our own vessels and for numerous others in the local area so we are looking forward to the start of work.”

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group acquired the lease for the dry dock business in 2009, saving it from administration. Since then the Dry Dock has gone from strength to strength and provides a wide range of ship repair, fabrication and welding work, including land-based contracts such as the new railings for Penzance promenade.

The business employs 15 staff and recently won a contract to supply a range of skilled fabrication and construction services to the Penzance Jubilee pool, which is undergoing a £2.9 million restoration having been severely damaged in last year’s winter storms.

The dock, which is 75 metres long and 12 metres wide, and is next to Penzance Harbour’s inner basin, is also home to the Group’s Scillonian III passenger ship during her annual winter lay-up where she undergoes routine maintenance.

The announcement marks the latest investment by the Steamship Group in equipment and facilities that underpin its commitment to improving transport links between the Isles of Scilly and the mainland. Last week the company announced that it had acquired an eighth aircraft for its in-house airline Skybus, further strengthening vital air links to the Isles of Scilly.

James Struthers, Assistant Marine Superintendant of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said: “This is a truly exciting time for the dry dock business and its workforce. This investment will help realise our vision to build a sustainable ship repair and civil engineering business which will be a cornerstone of local employment and a substantial contributor to the local economy”.