A Multitude of Tasks

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

Drawing for manufacture of wheel spokes.

During this period there was a high level of activity on many different areas. Externally, steelwork was receiving attention with badly corroded areas being cut out and replaced. This was possible with help from volunteer welders. Chris Jones and Roger Toft joined the teams – experienced and dynamic steam enthusiasts with a ‘get things done’ attitude. In the engine room, ancillaries, pumps, valves and fittings started to receive attention. The boiler was prepared and hydraulically tested. On deck, the engine room skylight was completely renovated and re-installed on a repaired steel base,. These are just a few highlights. Each weekend, and sometimes weekdays too, the log book was filled with details of various jobs. Our photographers seem to have deserted. Access to the ship, of course, was still the gangplank over the mud.

Logbook excerpt, 6th May 1978.
Logbook excerpt, 20th May 1978.

Restoration Log Book – Saturday 17 June 1978

  • Hydraulic Test (Boiler): Tested to 180psi for 15 mins. Boiler itself sound. Various weeps at valve poppets and top and front end manholes. Back mudhole sealed up at approx. 120psi.

After further attention the boiler was re-tested to 180psi on 26th June.

From Paddle Wheels No. 73

The Weir pump, has been stripped down to its last split pin and reassembled. lt is just waiting for a new set of steam piston rings (one was broken) and then the shop trials will be run on compressed air with a 120psi relief valve on the delivery to impose some loading on the pump.

Paddle shaft bearing brackets require strengthening up due to the considerable wastage over the years. This requirement appeared to demand a double slipping programme (assuming that the work would not be completed before the first slipping – which it will not be) i.e. – slip vessel, strengthen brackets, load paddle shafts and bearings (and do all the plating etc.), un-slip to gain sufficient floating time to line up paddle shafts and bearings, then slip again to build up the paddle wheels. However, we are confident we can erect the wheels on the mud berth from the pre-assembled parts, so the foregoing sequence will apply except for the second slipping.

Paddle box rebuild has still a long way to go but things are moving in the right direction. If anyone asks what use old paddle box steel side sheeting can be put to, the answer is a steaming box for the new paddle box timbers.