Lawrie Beal Steps Down

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

Work continues on the sponsons.|Margaret Scroggs

The multiplicity of activities were becoming too much for one individual to closely supervise in spare time from full employment. Additionally funding shortages were contributing to harmonious relationships becoming strained. A difficult period, but the workers’ enthusiasm carried the work forward. It’s difficult to imagine today a project such as this being held up for what now appears to be very small sums of money.

Restoration Log Book

It’s worth noting that the number of days on which volunteer workers attended in this quarter (July to September 1980) was approximately 55, compared to 35 in the corresponding quarter for 1979.

From Paddle Wheels No. 83

The loss of Lawrie Beal as Project Leader is certainly much felt by all those on the Board of Paddle Steam Navigation, and all members of the Board will, I am sure, want to be associated with the accompanying tribute made by the London and Home Counties Branch.

Lawrie Beal.

The main concern at present is fund raising because to renovate the ship money is needed. At present there is effectively no cash available. The appeal fund has been spent on the hull repairs. The voluntary labour force is now held up for steel plate, timber for decking and even paint. Various schemes for raising cash are being investigated and, needless to say suggestions from members will be most welcome.

With the retirement of Lawrie Beal, Chris Jones has been appointed Project Leader at the ship and he will be closely assisted by Colin Harrison who acts as labour organiser. Colin is the person to contact to find out what is happening and when, and he maintains a chart at the ship which shows the dates when people are coming, He will be pleased to hear from anyone wishing to put in a day’s work.

Progress Report: Advantage is being taken of the extra time on the slip to complete the sponson brackets and commence assembly of the paddle boxes. Decking for the new sponsons is now needed and also in the absence of funds for timber, steel plate may be used. We cannot afford even this at present.

The new paddle shaft bearing brackets are fitted, awaiting the shaft/wheel assemblies. New frames have been welded in around the counter stern. The rudder bearing housing is receiving attention and the engine room has been painted out – including most of the- bilges. Significantly about two tons of scrap has been removed from the ship.

In Their Own Words – London and Home Counties Branch Tribute

Lawrie Beal’s Tremendous Work

Everyone will be sorry to hear that Lawrie Beal has announced his resignation as Kingswear Castle Project Leader. Those who have been close to the restoration project for any length of time will be aware, at least to some extent of the time and effort which Lawrie has put in. Some, indeed, will recall that it was Lawrie who, by stepping forward in 1972 as Project Leader, when no-one else seemed able or willing, probably saved KC from the breaker’s yard. Deterioration to the vessel had badly set in. There seemed to be little resource or leadership for undertaking the restoration work necessary. There is no doubt whatever that the Society would have agreed to dispose of the vessel if Lawrie had not stepped forward. Our ship – 93 tons of rusting steel and rotting timber – requiring not only substantial renovation but, importantly, routine maintenance, was a job which would not have been undertaken lightly with professional labour and dry dock facilities. Yet, knowing that there were limited facilities, very little money, and a voluntary labour force yet to be recruited, this was the task for which Lawrie took responsibility.

Lawrie’s first task was to bring together those willing and able to assist, and in this way a group of staunch supporters grew, many of these of course are still making a big contribution to the vessel. Lawrie enthusiastically undertook every aspect of the organisation – fundraising, rounding up the labour force, and planning every detail of the jobs to be undertaken in a most methodical way, with consistent production of Work Programmes for the work leaders to follow. More often than not, Lawrie would get “stuck in”, and he spent many hours working on the ship and it must not be overlooked that Betty Beal put up with all his involvement in a most stoic manner.

For many people KC must always be very closely linked with the name of Lawrie Beal (and this includes not only Society members), because it has been through a personal and enthusiastic approach that most of the suppliers and firms sponsoring the Project have become aware of KC. It may not always be apparent, but when an organisation supplies materials or services a significant amount of paperwork, telephone work, legwork and follow-up is required on the part of those ‘in charge’. Lawrie has given very many of his lunch times, evenings, weekends and his holidays to KC. It is significant to note that the number of people involved now with the work on the PSN Board of Management which for a very long time was a single handed effort.

Lest anyone should think that Lawrie has lost enthusiasm, it should be appreciated that he is still vitally concerned with the assembly of the paddle Wheels and other important jobs away from the ship, and will no doubt continue to be involved in an advisory capacity.

The loss to KC cannot be denied, Lawrie having given of his best all through these tumultuous years, but the best way for members to remedy this is to give that bit more support for the project so that the effort put in thus far can soon reach fruition – as it will – as it must. We feel confident that Lawrie wants no better tribute than that!

Stern repairs completed.|Brian Waters

Delays in completion of the wheels resulted in the need for more time on the slip. Nick Knight negotiated an extension. The next sufficiently high tide would be in January, but as will be seen, unslipping was delayed until March 1981. The wheels were being fabricated by SMM at no cost, with a small team of SMM skilled people working on a voluntary ‘after hours’ basis. This made expediting difficult.