Summer 1974

Supporting the preservation and operation of paddle steamers Waverley and Kingswear Castle

Summer 1974

Calmac lion.

Cash boost for Waverley – Almost £20,000 has been contributed to the Waverley appeal – including £6,000 from Glasgow Council. This is the first public money to be allocated. Meanwhile preparations for the transfer of ownership of the vessel from Caledonian MacBrayne to the Society continued. The decision to go ahead was taken by the Central Committee of PSPS after lengthy discussions in June. All future negotiations concerning the vessel will be handled by the board of directors of Waverley Steam Navigation Co Ltd. Working parties commenced as soon as the transfer of ownership went through – Waverley actually becoming our property for £1. The first noticeable sign of the transfer will be the repainting of the funnels in the old North British colours – red with a white band and black top. The four Caledonian lions are being removed and handed back to Caledonian MacBrayne.

Kingswear Castle – The engines have been largely stripped down and bearings from the paddle shaft opened up. The air pump and engine driven feed and bilge pumps have been dismantled – the latter two are now being worked on “at home”. A good start has been made on boiler cleaning – inside and out. All boiler fittings have now been removed and preparations are being made for hydraulic test and inspection. The boiler cradle has not been forgotten – it is being scaled, cleaned and painted.

At Rochester – The Berry Castle, sold by the River Dart Steamboat Co. in 1971 was at Rochester this Spring. From June to October she is advertised to make cruises from Strood Pier on the Medway. With Clifton Castle and Greenway Castle in service on the Thames, and Kingswear Castle at Rochester, there were thus four former River Dart vessels in the area.

South Coast – The Medway Queen is now leased to a company who are running her as a discotheque and night club (on the Medina). They hope to raise enough money to have her towed to the Medway this autumn so that she can become a floating pub at Rochester. The very poor condition of her hull is well known so the risk involved in a coastal tow is considerable. It would be a tragedy if she failed to complete the voyage.

HumberWingfield Castle made her final sailings on March 14th and was then laid up at New Holland. Tattershall Castle remains at Immingham. The paddle steamer Lincoln Castle had to maintain the ferry service single-handed on more than one day in July. The diesel vessel Farringford had to be taken out of service due to “mechanical failure”. The steamer provided ten crossings in each direction. Farringford was out of service twice more in late August.

Afloat with PSPS

  • Maid of the Loch: The Scottish Branch’s second charter met with the same persistent rain as on their 1971 venture. Some 253 were on board when the steamer left Balloch and a Society Sales Stand was organised at the after end of the cafeteria. We have been told that Waverley’s decks require to be recaulked. On board Maid of the Loch we were given a practical demonstration of what happens when they are not – it rained in the saloons!
  • Lincoln Castle: The Humber’s last paddle steamer started the PSPS cruise to Goole in such haste that two crew members were left behind at Hull Victoria Pier. The missing pair were re-united with the paddler thanks to the local pilot launch. Unpredictable weather kept the numbers down, but the sun broke through and it was pleasantly warm as Lincoln Castle made her way up the Ouse towards Goole.


Compiler’s note

This edition of Paddle Wheels actually appeared in Autumn 74, and is shown here because no Summer edition was published.