Autumn 1982

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

Autumn 1982

Waverley cruising round Great Britain – We had looked forward to it for months. On 20th May it happened. Waverley returned to the Tyne! With our fellow Geordies we did our bit to help Waverley to reach the targets she needs to keep running. Saturday’s voyage took us south to Scarborough where there was stiff competition from a local passenger ship as to who would reach the harbour first.

The people of Humberside again showed their love of the paddle steamer with encouraging support for Waverley’s brief visit. Some 600 made the morning cruise from Hull to Goole and back, and several hundred more boarded in Hull to go to Spurn Head. Connoisseurs of paddler visits to Goole were able to amuse themselves with comparisons between the handling of Waverley and Lincoln Castle.

The weather was ideal for sailing of Waverley from Plymouth to the Admiralty Dockyards and the Eddystone. From the Hamoaze we sailed straight out past the Plymouth Breakwater and made for the Eddystone. Just as darkness was beginning to fall we circled the light and returned at a more leisurely pace.

Waverley, Queen of the Channel! That was the verdict of the people of Wales and the West as they poured down the gangways during her June visit. Looking smart, Waverley paddled into the Bristol Channel on the crest of a heat wave of Mediterranean intensity. The message rings loud and clear – the Bristol channel needs a ship now

Just part of the KC story – The framework of the paddle boxes consists of semi-circular angle iron hoops. Some lengths of timber had to be bent over the hoops. Our first attempt was largely a failure and after many breakages we decided to tryout the steaming box… Behind the painted pictures of the castle is a heavy semicircular block of oak. Each had to be renewed. We arrived at the stage where the radial fan boards could be secured. Now the work done years before when the old boxes had been dismantled and drawings prepared came to good use. The drawings were needed constantly as a reference to reproduce the scalloped slots. Assembly of the starboard side took about five working days. To form the beading the solution was to steam half-round ash for a couple of hours, bend it to profile, nail to an old plank for a week to dry out, and then fasten to the paddle box with copper pins. The original trim had not been bent round at all but cut from solid mahogany in the shape required!

Compton Castle’s new role – The former River Dart steamer is now undergoing restoration for use as a floating restaurant in Truro. By early summer the steamer had been stripped to little more than the bare hull with the boiler and engine removed, the latter having been sold to the Isle of Wight Maritime Museum

Maritime England Rally 1982 – Modellers from all parts converged on Blackheath to make the Society’s annual model rally one of the best ever. Despite a heavy thunderstorm during the afternoon we witnessed skilled manoeuvering of all types of models. A special attraction was the appearance of a beautiful model of PS Totnes Castle complete with liferafts and seats.