Blackheath Rally – September 5th proved to be a fine day and by 3pm seven models were arranged side by side proudly representing the original vessels famous in the glorious era of the paddle steamer. We saw two fine steam models of PS Royal Sovereign and PS Queen Victoria built by Mr Eltridge. Other models included a river stern wheeler, PS Golden Eagle and PS Glen Gower. PS Great Eastern completed the display. Cameras clicked as admirers photographed the models from all angles, a fitting tribute to this first Models Rally of PSPS.
Clyde notes – Caledonia spent July and August working out of Ayr Harbour, Troon etc. On the evening of August 21st she was chartered by the Ayr Rugby Club and again chartered on August 28th but this time out of Gourock. On entering Rothesay Bay she was having a race with Waverley and, it is hard to swallow, but Caledonia was winning when passing the Duchess of Hamilton returning from Ayr and Brodick. Of all four paddle vessels Jeanie Deans has been the most used by steamer fans from near and far. One of her supporters has spent no less than seventeen weekends and two weeks holiday on board. Friday July 24th saw her called to Glasgow to take over from Queen Mary II. Jeanie Deans herself got into difficulties on the return sailing up-river when a rope caught round her paddle wheel. Two tugs were called to her assistance. September 28th was the last day of service for Jeanie Deans and on September 29th she left Craigendoran to go into her winter quarters in Albert Harbour, Greenock. If the Beeching cuts come off we will have lost one of the greatest paddle steamers that has worked on the Firth of Clyde.
White Funnel news – The Milford Haven excursion on August 30th was as usual a highlight of the season with a good number of passengers connecting by Cardiff Queen from Weston. The marathon run by Bristol Queen tended to steal the limelight but it is worth noting that Cardiff Queen’s day began at 7am and ended at about 1.30am after six ferry runs and a trip to Ilfracombe.
Bristol Channel Branch – The September 20th trip was an evening cruise to Chepstow aboard MV St. Trillo – the first sailing by passenger vessel to Chepstow for over 50 years. The Branch AGM was on Oct 11 at Weston and then many members made an evening cruise, in somewhat Arctic conditions, to Cardiff and Penarth on the St. Trillo.
Weymouth notes – Princess Elizabeth continued with a programme almost the same as the previous year with a once weekly trip to Yarmouth. Consul reopened the Lulworth Cove landing trips. Unfortunately Consul was not allowed a pierhead booking office. A most unhappy relationship developed between operators culminating in Consul finishing her season on August 28th leaving Princess Elizabeth three weeks on her own. Consul is now up for disposal. The season at Bournemouth finished on Sept 24 and Embassy is now laid up in Weymouth Harbour astern of Princess Elizabeth.
Both ships ran to Lulworth Cove but only the Consul called there. On Wednesdays and some Fridays in the peak weeks Princess Elizabeth sailed on the popular and remunerative run to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight leaving the way clear for the Consul on the local trips. For potential passengers to tell them apart, their promotional material described them as “The Red Funnel Ship” and “The Ship with the Yellow Funnel” respectively.