Structural Work is Top Priority

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

From Paddle Wheels No. 77

it is encouraging lo be able to report the progress which has been achieved on the vital structural steelwork repairs during the past weeks. With the ship on the slipway, PSPS and Paddle Steam Navigation* have to ensure that all work to comply with full DTI Class 5 requirements. Tasks needing the use of the slipway must be complete before un-slipping. This will enable the target date for steam trials lo be set.

The upper work bow plating repairs are almost complete, new forward well deck frames are welded into position and the new steel paddle box frames are fitted in position ready for re-construction of the paddle boxes. The shafts and wheels can be assembled when the out-board bearing-brackets are ready. The wheels are at present being built (by SMM). With the paddle box structure in position, it will be necessary to use the trap door in the top of the box and a long jib crane to position the shafts. A set of new sponson brackets has been cut to our templates by Babcock, and work can now commence on welding these into position. Another friendly firm is supplying scaffolding for this and other work.

Brian Lawrence at the forward saloon entrance.

Two new members joined the volunteer workforce, Brian Lawrence making his first visit on 28th May and Brian Waters on 2nd June. Both became dedicated members of the team, continuing to contribute right through KC’s operational period on the Medway.

From Paddle Wheels No. 77

The task which is being given priority attention at present is the welding in of the new bottom plates. Shortly after this work was commenced by a professional welder, he was sent away by his firm on a distant site job. We are now seeking a plating firm to tackle the job in one go. This is certain to incur higher costs but it’s essential to complete this job and paint the plates before the warm weather finishes. The Kingswear Castle sub-committee has approved extra expenditure provided the quotation is reasonable and the work is completed within this time scale. Decisions to spend more money and advance the work more rapidly can only be effective with the full support of the membership and there is an opportunity for everyone to participate by supporting the fund-raising events which are presented elsewhere in this issue.

In the Bigger Picture

At about this time a subcommittee chaired by Nick Knight was set up to manage the restoration work. The intention was increase the involvement of work leaders who were already taking the imitative on many tasks. In particular, Chris Jones was appointed as joint project leader alongside Lawrie Beal, to carry through engineering work at the ship and Colin Harrison’s role as resources manager was acknowledged. In a sense these changes were already happening, but with significant PSPS funds being requested it was important to ensure proper control. The owning company, Paddle Steam Navigation Ltd. (later to become the charitable Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust Ltd.) was still dormant, just maintaining the company accounts and registration details.

In Their Own Words – From Paddle Wheels No. 77, Lawrie Beal

Congratulations to the Editor on a good Summer Paddle Wheels. It is fitting, too that there should be a double page picture again on the important Kingswear Castle work. May we please have this as a regular feature provided the photos become available? lt is not always easy both lo work and to take photographs. If any member or friend can spare the time every few weeks to become the “official photographer” to capture a good record that would be very welcome. With all the good news about KC’s progress, members and project friends are not likely to be feeling downhearted, but I was disappointed to read in the AGM report of “rather gloomy talk” although I did say that without further volunteer help the ship would never sail. Also Mr. Knight thought it might not be possible to offer the slipway for a further attempt if we did not complete the heavy repairs this time. If those negative results came about, it would not be gloomy, it would be catastrophic. No, the news is all good, and has never been better.