Both wheels have now been completely built up with the exception of the wooden floats. These to be fitted later allowing initial engine trials to be carried out in the berth. The component parts fitted together very well, although there was a little ‘head scratching’ at first, before it was realised that some of the location instructions from Stone Vickers were being misinterpreted.
The wooden paddle box structures were brought to an advanced stage with the port box almost complete. The detail of the beading around the vents was added, with the circular portions machined out of solid hardwood.
Another important job tackled was the renewal of the boiler supporting cradles. Preparation for lifting the boiler off the cradles was minimal and it was quite easy to jack one end up by the necessary few inches. Hydraulic jacks were hired for this purpose. This allowed the old cradle to be cut out. Meanwhile new cradles were fabricated at Babcock Power from sketches and drawings made at the ship. It is interesting to note that the boiler is offset by a small amount to counter the weight of the engine, where the heavier low pressure cylinder is on the starboard side.
From Paddle Wheels No. 88
One of the most regular work party members bid goodbye at the end of 1981. Tudor Francis, a skilled welder by trade, had been responsible for many structural welding jobs. The welding in of the sponson brackets, for example, some 28 brackets in all, was his work. Tudor returned to his home in South Wales following his retirement from the Babcock site at Grain, and to wish him farewell a small dinner party was held in the forward saloon. This was organised by Colin Harrison who also filled the roles of Chef and Waiter. Project leader Chris Jones presented Tudor with a framed and inscribed technical illustration.