Winter 1980

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

Winter 1980

PSPS celebrates coming of age – Celebrated with a 21st Anniversary Dinner in the glittering surroundings of the Savoy Hotel, this was a truly memorable occasion. The PSPS flag brought a splash of colour to the marble pillars and walls of the River Room at whose entrance the mood of the evening was set with a colourful poster of the paddle steamer Mainz pounding up the Rhine. The history of PSPS was graphically recorded in a series of panels prepared by John Millar and Joe Marshallsay and included issues from the 21 years of Paddle Wheels, and a display of posters, photographs and timetables from every European and Scandinavian river or lake where paddle steamers still operate. Messages of good wishes for the evening were received from the PSPS branches and steamer operators from abroad. Principal guest of the evening was Vice-Admiral Sir Patrick Bayly, director of the ships committee of the Maritime Trust. Margaret Russell first put forward the idea of a Savoy dinner and her special efforts were recognised with a bouquet presentation from Mrs Bunty Collinson.


Shanklin joins the fleet – The former Isle of Wight ferry has been purchased to sail on the Clyde next summer in support of Waverley. The 833 ton vessel, to be renamed Ivanhoe, is to be collected from Portsmouth before the end of November. Shanklin was built on the Clyde by Dennys in 1951 and spent all her working life on the passenger ferry service to Ryde with a summer role as afternoon excursion ship. Shanklin has a defective port engine and will proceed to the Clyde using the starboard engine only.

Maid of the Loch hits the headlines – Right at the beginning of the season the Maid started to make news. The big event this year was the rebuilding of the old pier at Luss. The pier last received a call on September 24th 1951 and as the Maid of the Loch was commissioned in 1953 she had never called at this beautiful corner of the loch. The first cruise of the decade was cancelled because the fuel tanks overflowed when topping up and “mopping up” took some time. So the first “official” public sail was the afternoon cruise making the 15.30 call at Luss the one which was recorded in history. On June 9th she ran aground on leaving Luss pier. The level of the Loch was 2 to 3 feet lower than usual and headline banners proclaimed “Maid of the Loch hits a bonnie bank” and “The stuck up Maid”. All on board at the time were taken off safely by small motor launches. It was not until seven hours after she grounded that she was refloated with the aid of two launches and returned to Balloch under her own steam.

Kingswear Castle – Donations of £2,200 have come in from Society members in response to the appeal – a tremendous vote of confidence in the restoration team. We needed £3,500 to ‘get out of the red’ and contractor’s work has had to cease with two-thirds of the below water line repairs completed. The appeal fund is still open. Sponson brackets and steel plating around the stern have reached a sufficiently advanced stage to allow completion after unslipping.

Caledonia’s untimely end – On the Thames, Old Caledonia has now departed for the breakers, suffering the final indignity of having her masts hacked down, lying at 45 degrees, and the top of her funnel sawn off in order to clear the bridges.

John H Amos – Happier news surrounds the paddle tug John H Amos which has been languishing in Regent’s Dock, London. She was moved in late April to a berth next to the old Sittingbourne gas works in Milton Creek, Kent. Her ownership is the Medway Maritime Museum, which began restoration work on her on 4th May.