Society news – 1980 is the Society’s 21st year. Plans are being made to celebrate this notable event in various ways culminating in a dinner in London during the Autumn.
Chairmanship – At AGM on 22nd March Victor Gray will be handing over the chair. During the three and a half years he has been chairman the Society has grown at a fast rate. Waverley has risen from the disaster of the grounding in 1977, and progress with the restoration of KC is now being made at a far greater rate. The Scottish Branch has never been more busy. 118 members and friends attended the Tenth Anniversary Dinner. Mr Robert MacLellan, Chairman of the Scottish Tourist Board chose as the theme for his speech “Scotland – Yet”.
Kingswear Castle – Following the hull doubling repairs, Everards are now continuing with the replacement of stern plates and associated framework. Other structural repairs must be carried out whilst the ship is on the slipway. The paddle shaft bearing brackets have been removed from the hull and are with Babcock Power where new ones will be fabricated. Sponson bracket replacement is continuing and the spokes and hoops for the new wheels are completed, ready for assembly. Wiring the ship is now being tackled. As built, there were no electrical services aboard the vessel. Two acetylene lamps in very poor condition were found in the engine room. One of our volunteers is supervising the installation of a completely new system. Our helper firms are making an invaluable contribution, and in order to express gratitude a reception was held aboard PS Tattershall Castle in London. Firms and individuals were invited as guests of the Society.
Waverley – Much of the timber work on both forward sections of the paddle boxes has rotted and is being replaced with steel plating. The front of the wheelhouse has leaked for some time and is now being replaced. Alterations to the after deck shelter are being carried out. New doors are being cut at the forward end of each side and a timber partition will be positioned at the top of the staircase. An important appointment has been made in Scotland – David Duncanson will be based at Stobcross Quay with responsibility for the shore-based operation of the steamer. During the winter he will be promoting the ship by means of film shows and talks.
Maid of the Loch – By mid-December work had started on rebuilding Luss pier. The re-building of Inversnaid pier last season ensures the continuation of the Trossachs tour connecting with Sir Walter Scott, now in her 81st year of sailings on Loch Katrine.
Queen Mary – Local Authority spending cuts are hitting hard and the plan to make Queen Mary a maritime museum is virtually dead. CalMac have first option on her, but have stated that they do not want her back. It looks as though she could go for scrap…
Steamer bookshelf – “Strict sobriety expected… no smoking abaft the funnel… gambling forbidden… shooting allowed at the fore end of the boat” Such was the list of conditions to be found on the sailing bills of Scarborough paddlers in the 1860s! The shooting referred to pot shots at birds. “Pleasure Steamers of Old Yorkshire” is an interesting and most readable publication. Arthur Godfrey has researched his subject well and his book is a most useful addition to documentation of East Coast passenger services.