Arrival of New Paddle Wheels

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

The wheels were assembled at SMM prior to dismantling and marking up for re-assembling at ship.|Lawrie Beal


On Friday 7th August the components for the new wheels arrived and were stowed in the storage sheds. Also delivered were the reconditioned and hubs. This event, probably more than any other could be said to mark the countdown to steaming and sailing KC. The volunteer workforce are determined it should happen. In the event it was quite a long countdown, but given the limited resources available, facilities and financial, a fine achievement.

From Paddle Wheels No. 86

The shafts have been built up and re-turned to size. The new wheels are constructed from steel and each spoke has been hand fitted to its location on the hub, following which it was heated in two places and set to the correct shape in a hydraulic press. The rim sections are formed from four quadrants, the assembly being made with fitted bolts. Additionally there are cross stays. Originally these were rods with forged ends. The new stays have welded on ends and a special jig was made to assist the welding. Each component has been carefully marked with its location identification and so when descaling and painting is complete, assembly should be straightforward. KC is very much indebted to Stone Vickers (formerly Stone Manganese Marine) for providing facilities which have enabled this work to be carried out. The skilled people at Stone Vickers who have given their spare time to assist deserve a special thank you.

Lawrie Beal’s drawings show exactly how the spokes should be formed and drilled.

With the steelwork complete, a good start has been made on the paddle box timberwork. Fitting and bedding in the timber on to the steelwork has proved to be quite time consuming, but once the foundations are laid it should be possible to proceed fairly rapidly. The new fanlight sections for the boxes have been cut out and the central ‘Castle’ emblems have been receiving attention away from the ship.


There were two separate work weeks when those were able attended throughout all or part of the week. This gave continuity. All the asbestos lagging has been removed from the boiler and also from the pipework and engine cylinders. This of course was a special job calling for proper protective clothing and sealed disposable bags. This enabled the inspector to examine all the seams and the boiler was declared sound. For steam test the boiler must be lifted and supports replaced. Also the manhole doors need replacing or repairing. A firm in Scotland which specialises in this type of equipment will provide new doors ‘free charge’. The replacement Worthington pump was given a trial on compressed air. The makers very generously supplied new steam end piston rings at no charge. Progress is being made on the steering gear with new steering chains at the ship and new tubes being made by Babcock Power.