PSPS 10th anniversary celebration – In near perfect weather conditions 80 members and friends attended the celebration tea party aboard Medway Queen on July 20th. After a brief welcome by our Chairman, messages from our Patron and President were read. All mentioned successes but pointed out the need for concerted action to ensure at least one paddle steamer remains operational in 1979. After this the Wessex Branch Secretary and only lady member of the Central Committee, Mrs E Pritchard, was presented with a bouquet in appreciation of her work over the past ten years.
PS Ryde – No one quite anticipated the overwhelming support the Society’s charter of Ryde received on September 7th. With the 850 ticket limit the steamer pulled away from the Piers at Southsea and Ryde to the accompaniment of loudspeaker announcements apologising to the ticketless travellers left behind. The Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Ryde were welcomed on board by Mr John Millar and other Society officials. The PSPS and Wight Loco Society stalls were doing a roaring trade which continued until Clarence Pier was in sight on the return trip. Ryde remained in steam until September 21st when she steamed out into Spithead to drop ashes, returning to a mooring. There she now lies until withdrawn or returning to service – she brought her spares from Newhaven in May. Her fate is still undecided.
Compton Castle – Harry Brookbanks writes to draw attention to paddler that gets little mention “Our ship’s last remaining sister, the Compton Castle is berthed in a tidal creek at Kingsbridge in South Devon and is a delightful rendezvous. She is quite the centre of attraction for people arriving in town, being painted white and blue, dressed overall with sunshades on deck. When we look at KC it is comforting to see a similar vessel that was in as bad a state if not worse restored to such a standard – she is able to steam should the need arise”.
Humber ferries – The charter cruise of Lincoln Castle on October 4th brought all three steamers into service. While the CCA party were en route to Spurn Head and back, Wingfield Castle and Tattershall Castle maintained the ferry service. About 150 passengers enjoyed the four and a half hour cruise from Hull – Lincoln Castle was well turned out and newly repainted. To the delight of many camera carrying enthusiasts, Lincoln Castle left Hull behind in a cloud of black smoke and similar volumes were emitted from the funnel on other occasions.
In European waters
- Danube: The Hebe (1905), oldest and smallest of the Danube vessels has been operating between Melk and Krems but whether she will survive to sail in 1970 is a matter for speculation.
- Switzerland: PS Neuchatel is the centre of growing controversy over her future. Boiler trouble kept the vessel inactive throughout 1969. She is the last steamer of a type peculiar to the Lakes of Neuchatel and Morat with low superstructure and a telescopic funnel for negotiating bridges over the waterway between the two lakes.