Summer 1987

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

Summer 1987

Last departure – Hundreds of people crowded the Hessle foreshore close to the Humber Bridge on the evening of Tuesday 31st March to see the PS Lincoln Castle floated out of the berth it has occupied for the past four years following purchase by a Cleethorpes café proprietor. The coal burner, built in 1940 and withdrawn from service in 1978, was taken to Riverside Quay in Hull and then to Immingham for repairs, and will open later in the year as a carvery and public bar in Grimsby.

Medway Queen – The Medway Queen Preservation Society now has full title to the vessel. Years of legal disputes and uncertainty of ownership are now over. This is a great step, looked forward to for the last eighteen months since the formation of the society. The Trust has now sold the ship to the New Medway Steam Packet Co Ltd! That the ship could return to her old company, long associated with the Medway, is due to the kind help of P&O who acquired the original company in a takeover while the Queen was still operational.

Restoration to start – Restoration work is due to start shortly on the paddle tug John H Amos, moored quite near Kingswear Castle at Chatham Historic Dockyard. John H Amos will not be completed this year, but hopefully, next year.

Lifebelt’s long trip home – Society member Miss G White of Penarth was lucky enough to obtain a life belt from P & A Campbell’s PS Britannia before it went for scrap in 1956. The belt was loaned to the Woodspring Museum, Weston Super Mare, for the “Age of the Bristol Channel Pleasure Steamer” exhibition. The belt was returned to the owner by Waverley. It was thus transported all the way down to Lundy Island and back to Penarth, a regular Britannia service of the fifties.

North of the Border – News of increased publicity by CalMac who have followed Waverley’s example by introducing a newspaper. The free 40 page CalMac Gazette is a similar idea to the Waverley Times.

The Murray River paddlers – Australia has preserved many old locomotives and indeed paddle steamers. At Swan Hill is the Gem built in 1876, afloat in a pond and used as a restaurant. Other old vessels have been re-engined, and are operated as pleasure boats. Pride of place goes to the Melbourne, which is the only active steamer and cruises twice a day from Mildura. She was built at Koondrook in 1912 and retains the original engines by Marshalls of Gainsborough, Lincs. She is kept in beautiful condition by her owner/skipper and her engineer. The only other crew members are two ladies who handle the ropes and run the souvenir and sandwich kiosk. Like most of the Murray steamers she is a woodburner. The 2¼ hour cruise is a delight with the rich birdlife including pelicans, herons and cormorants.

New PSPS book – Passenger Steamers of the Dart places Kingswear Castle into her correct context as the ultimate paddler of Britain’s last stronghold of river paddle steamer navigation – the River Dart. Many of the photographs are previously unpublished, with scenes ranging from the 1860s through to May 1985.

And 50 years ago… The familiar sight of Cosens’ offices at Custom House Quay, Weymouth can no longer be seen; The administrative section moved to the company workshop site; Waverley is in Albert Harbour but is expected to be out for Easter. Read more…..