Back to the Mudberth

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

Tudor Francis at work, completing as much as possible prior to moving off the slipway again on 14th October 1977.|Margaret Scroggs
Tudor Francis at work ahead of moving off the slipway.|Margaret Scroggs
Preparing to move off the slipway.|June Bushell

From Paddle Wheels No. 70

KC was unslipped and moved back to the mooring on the 14th October. This was to clear the slip tor an urgent job of Mr. Knights’ and KC should be returning to the slip early in the New Year as the bottom plates have still to go in. However we now have a very experienced welder who is standing by for this operation. The bottom painting was completed satisfactorily although the plates to be doubled will, of course, require a similar painting treatment to the rest of the bottom.

Paddle shaft removed on 1st October prior to being sent away for refurbishment.|Margaret Scroggs

Prior to the move off the slipway the shafts and hubs were finally removed for attention and re-build of the new wheels away from the ship.

Apart from getting the boiler through its hydraulic and steam tests whilst on the mudberth, the topsides plate repairs will be tackled along with the new paddle -box framing. The paddle shafts were withdrawn on the 1st October for welding build-up of journals and re-machining. Paddle wheels are under construction-and will be essentially of the original design and – retaining the bolted joint construction rather than a welded wheel which was favoured at one time.

One design change has been made which eliminates hook bolts tor fastening the paddle floats (42-x 15 x 1½ ins OAK – 12 off per wheel). Instead, welded-on, grease packed bushes house standard hexagon head bolts. This has the advantage that corrosion crevices are greatly reduced and bolt tightening loads are truly axial and-should give improve bolt pre-tensions-(as far as is possible with wooden floats) in this fluctuating loading application. A start has been made on the timber Paddle Box sections.

The small tug Hobbitt helps manoeuvre KC from the slipway to the mudberth location.|June Bushell
 |June Bushell
With the ship in position, the mooring lines are fixed. Nick Knight can be seen at the bow and Pete Trigg lower right.|June Bushell

Whilst moored on the mudberth there were plenty of things to attend to.

Restoration Log Book – Saturday 5 November 1977

  • Timber delivered to ship, stacked on coach deck and covered.
  • Large oak pieces stacked on after well deck.
  • Elm piece stored on aft poop deck.
  • Inspection of circulating pump.
  • Paddle gland housings removed

Restoration Log Book – Saturday 19 November 1977

  • ER skylight base cut out and prepared for welding.
  • Engine driven welder – slow running erratic.
  • Fwd saloon deckhead – all painted flat white.
  • Old paddle wheels partly cut up.

In the Bigger Picture

It became clear that additional funding would be required to maintain progress; an assessment for replacement steelwork including bottom plates, was gradually forming, and on 18th November Mr. P Gough from ESAB (sponsoring welding electrodes) made a visit and went over the ship in detail. On 26th November a visit was made by PSPS Central Committee members, D McGowan, J Beveridge and M Hodges. The PSPS was pressurised at this time by the consequences of Waverley’s stranding on the Gantocks during the summer. Nevertheless, a major KC fund raising appeal was launched. The first bottom plate was delivered to the ship on 17th December.

From Paddle Wheels No. 71

KC Christmas tree!|June Bushell

The 1977 Christmas party was held with great success with some excellent films shown, a debate, carols on the foredeck and a good general get-together and gossip. The writer’s delight at not having his special slice of cake fed to a Red Setter while his back was turned (as happened in 1976) was tempered somewhat by having to propound in the debate why “Steam is no good in Ships!”. A 2kW, 110v steam driven dynamo comprising a Sissons engine and Mawdsley dynamo (circa 1945) has been very kindly made available on extended loan by a member to whom we’re very grateful. Our thanks also go to Messrs. ESAB Ltd. for their kind assistance in the supply of welding tools for the project and their offer to assist in any specialist welding requirements on the site.