Waverley Reaches her 70th
Paddle Steamer Waverley (Ship No.1330) was launched 70 years ago on Wednesday 2nd October 1946 by Lady Matthews, wife of the London & North Eastern Railway (L.N.E.R) Chairman, into the waters of the River Kelvin. At the launch Lady Matthews said “the splendour of the Clyde coast scenery should be viewed from steamers like this”.
Waverley was the last of many Clyde paddlers built at the Pointhouse shipyard of A. & J. Inglis. Construction had began on 27th December 1945 but was unusually long due to a shortage of materials following the war. The cost of the new paddler was £107,725 and she was to replace their paddler of the same name which had been sunk at Dunkirk. The former site of the Pointhouse shipyard is now occupied by the award winning Riverside Museum in Glasgow.
Following the launch the hull was berthed in the River Kelvin for fitting out. After partial fitting out Waverley was towed downriver to Greenock’s Victoria Harbour on Monday 20th January 1947 where her Rankin & Blackmore triple expansion engine was later fitted. The engine was built in their Eagle Foundry in Greenock. Passengers on board Waverley today regularly spot the three small eagles which are mounted on the main engine.
Once fitting out was completed Waverley ran sea trials on Thursday 5th June 1947 where she reached a maximum speed of 18.37 knots with a full load of fuel and water. Her maiden voyage was on Monday 16th June 1947, when she sailed in fine weather from Craigendoran on the route she was built to serve – the cruise to Lochgoilhead and Arrochar.
To mark the 70th anniversary of Waverley’s launch Scottish Branch committee member Iain Quinn will be giving an illustrated talk at the Fairfield Heritage Centre in Govan on Wednesday 5th October at 2pm. This is a free event but spaces should be booked in advance by calling 0141 445 5866. Further details can be found at the Fairfield website.