Spring 1986

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

Spring 1986

Tuskar Rock Lighthouse.

Waverley in Irish Waters – Dun Laoghaire harbour, Ireland, April 1985 and Waverley is working in Irish waters offering the first of a series of cruises on a coast which has not seen such a venture in most people’s lifetime. The ship’s destination board reads “Dun Laoghaire, Arklow, Rosslare, Coastal Cruise”. Arklow was the first port of call and the South Pier was black with people and lines of cars stretching inland. Despite a nasty surge alongside the berth the captain and crew successfully brought in the paddler and embarked several hundred passengers. Only a few passengers joined at Rosslare, a rather desolate spot. After a delay to allow the car ferry St. Patrick II to arrive from France, Waverley backed out, swung eastwards and made for Tuskar Rock, a lonely outpost on which stands a lighthouse. A squall, and plump hailstones battered down as only the most hardy among the passengers ventured out of shelter to snatch a quick photo of the lighthouse as the ship began a long turn around the rock. Rosslare was left again about 5pm for the sail northwards to Dublin. With conditions much improved the cruise assumed its earlier tranquility. Sunset over the Wicklow mountains was a chance to appreciate Ireland from the sea.

This was the first of nine days cruising which Waverley offered on the east coast of Ireland. The support, some 6,000 passengers was highly encouraging.

Wingfield Castle move – More than £1 million is to be spent to turn PS Wingfield Castle into a major tourist attraction at Hartlepool, the place where the former Humber ferry was built more than half a century ago. Hartlepool Council has bought Wingfield Castle which will be towed from Swansea in the Spring at the start of a four year restoration programme. The task is being carried out by some of the skilled workers who have been involved in the six year renovation of HMS Warrior. Wingfield Castle, built in 1934 by William Gray with machinery by the Central Engineering Works, also in Hartlepool, is intended to become centerpiece of a docks development. Sister ship Tattershall Castle appears to have a secure future in a restaurant role on the Thames and the Lincoln Castle continues in a similar role in the shadow of the Humber Bridge at Hessle, the purchase and move to Grimsby having fallen through.

By paddler to Budapest – Dramatic changes in the pattern of sailings operated by the First Danube Steamship Co. will see the veteran PS Schönbrunn moving into international traffic to make twice weekly trips from Vienna to Budapest. The old-timer, completed at Budapest in 1913 has been chartered by Vienna based Mondial Travel and will sail from Vienna every Tuesday and Friday from 2nd May to 4th October, lying overnight in the Hungarian capital before returning the following day.

Donald Rose – Members will be sad to learn of the death of Don Rose, a member of this society for a very long time. There have been few people prepared to take action on their own. Don Rose chartered PS Consul and brought her to the Thames and subsequently bought the Jeannie Deans which was sailed south and renamed Queen of the South. This brave venture failed to meet with success – lack of expertise and support. Despite setbacks Don went on to purchase a small motor vessel which successfully ran trips for several years. It may well be that Don Rose started the Society on the road which led to satisfactory operation of Waverley and Kingswear Castle. This unassuming, resilient and determined man was one of the great characters of our Society.

Medway Queen – Over the past few months working parties have continued each Saturday and Sunday – temporary patching of the several small holes. The largest hole, in the boiler room has been located. Other work has concentrated on making the ship better able to withstand the winter until we are ready to move her.