Pirate Attack Raises £50

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

From Paddle Wheels No. 85

A Pirate boat sets off on the Medway.|Bernie Thompson

At approximately 12.45 hours on Monday, 4th May, pirates attacked and seized the paddle steamer Waverley as she was on passage up the Medway. The boarders turned out to be none other than the scurvy men of the ill-famed steamer, Kingswear Castle, which has long lurked among the mud banks of that river, with crew ready to pounce on the unwary traveller and force him to serve aboard with paint brush and chipping hammer.

Pirates climb aboard…|Bernie Thompson
…and hoist a flag.|Bernie Thompson

However, it soon became apparent that the black-hearted band were on this occasion motivated by the age-old desire for pecuniary gain, as they moved among the passengers with drawn cutlasses and pistols, permanently bloodstained knives in their belts, and collecting boxes held aloft. Their own ship being for the present immobile they were aided and abetted by a local villain who is reported to have harboured them for some years and on this occasion lent his own boat with which, having introduced them on board their luckless victim, he went before to Gillingham, whither Waverley was forced to follow with the dreaded Black Flag in her fore rigging.

From Paddle Wheels No. 85

Following the arrival at the mud berth, a power supply has been arranged so that welding repairs can continue. In spite of the fact that we do not seem to have had a dry Saturday for the last two months, this work has made fair progress with deck plating and framing being built up around the paddle boxes and on the new sponson brackets. This work is preparatory to the laying of the sponson decks and the building of the paddle boxes.

The work on the forward sponsons has advanced sufficiently to allow the teak edging to be refitted. This is bedded down on to the new platework and forms the boundary between the steel edge and the deck itself. We have been kindly sponsored by a firm who have provided free of charge the bitumastic material for this type of steel/timber interface. This in its turn has allowed the handrails to be refitted which is a good safety measure. The bow scroll boards and hawse pipes are now also being refitted so that the anchor chains are properly located.

The ships wheel has been beautifully restored by our friends at Babcock Power.

Any visitor to the ship should certainly ask to see it. Inscribed on the wheel are the names of those who undertook the task.

Restoration Log Book – Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 May 1981

Plenty of activity and Wilderness School still participating.

Undergoing overhaul away from the ship is a Worthington Simpson circulating pump. This pump is similar to the original and was purchased second hand. The original was so corroded and worn as to be useless and a replacement was only located after quite a lot of searching. A purchase price of around £200 was negotiated and, in the absence of funds this sum was raised amongst the working members themselves — a splendid achievement, but in a way a rather sad reflection on the support being received from a large section of the membership.

KC’s budget for this year is of the order of £2,500 and this is with very little materials allowance, let alone any work by outside contractors. The project can only progress as fast as the Society membership permits in terms of finance and practical work at the ship. Whilst we recognise that there are many members (and non-members come to that) who are making a substantial contribution, if you are one of those who is asking when KC will be sailing, remember to ask yourself what contribution you are making to that end!