It was now dawning on people that the activities on KC could really succeed in getting the ship steaming again. Up until now there had always been a contingent of the “This will never happen” brigade with some consequent side-lining of recruitment effort and fundraising. Furthermore, it was realised that getting the bottom plating done during this window of opportunity was vital. But how to raise money. Strongly worded messages appeared in Paddle Wheels No. 77, accompanied by invitations to enter a prize draw, and meanwhile Everards of Greenhithe were contracted to do the work.
From Paddle Wheels No. 78
September and October have seen plenty of activity around Kingswear Castle. Cleaning and painting of the hull has commenced and welding in of the new sponson brackets is in hand. The brackets forward of the paddle boxes on the port side are all in position and look very shipshape, especially in comparison with the badly wasted ones which are being cut away. This work is being carried out by our own fabrication team — Christopher Jones, Tudor Francis and Roger Toft, assisted by other hands as required. It is a pity that no one has come forward to act as photographer and obtain a continuous record of the restoration progress.
The very important task of bottom plating is now also under way. Each weekday, when tides permit, plates are being welded in to double a fairly extensive section of the ship’s hull. The total area to be plated is approximately 300 square ft and is mainly in port and starboard “B” strakes (second rows of plates from the keel) at the after end.
These repairs are being carried out for us by FT Everard and Sons Greenhithe Limited, and they are making a first class job. Well known as Thames ship-owners, the company was founded in 1890 by sailing barge builder and owner, FT Everard. A fleet of trading ships was built up during the early part of the century, first with sailing barges and soon with steam and motor ships.
Whilst it may seem that having professionals to do the job means a less busy time for our own volunteers, the reverse has been the case. Weekends have seen a large amount of preparation work being carried out in order that the repairs can proceed smoothly, not to mention the upper repairs also being done. Each day whilst the plating has been in progress a fire-watcher has been on duty to be responsible for the safety of the ship, and society members have been using their holiday leave to take their place in the rota.