Waverley’s 1981 Re-Boilering – Further Images

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

Waverley’s 1981 Re-Boilering – Further Images

This article follows on from a previous posting on Waverley’s 1981 Re-Boilering but shares some images which have recently been provided.

By the late 1970s Waverley was well established, she had defied the critics and was by then operating in many areas around Britain. The 1979 season recorded a staggering 229,000 passenger journeys and there was growing confidence in Waverley having a more certain future. However, the ship would require major work to ensure her continued reliability – that would come in the form of a new boiler.

1980 saw some changes with Waverley Excursions Ltd. being formed as the company to operate the ship, rather than the owning company (Waverley Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.), and a General Manager was appointed to lead the shore operation in Glasgow.

By the close of the 1980 season exceptionally ambitious plans were in the making. Waverley was going to be re-boilered during the coming winter and a second ship was to be purchased which would result in a sailing programme unlike anything which had gone before. It was without doubt an exciting period in Waverley’s preservation!

Waverley had completed her 1980 season at the end of September on the Clyde. She was then laid up at her (then) home berth at Stobcross Quay just downriver of the Finnieston Crane.

Over the 6 month period between November 1980 and April 1981 revolutionary change took place:

  • MV Shanklin was purchased from Sealink for £25,000 to be a second ship to operate in support of Waverley
  • Shanklin was slipped in Southampton for inspection and survey before being certificated to sail north to Glasgow
  • Waverley was reboilered with new diesel alternators also fitted
  • Shanklin was renamed Prince Ivanhoe and underwent an extensive refit which included rebuilding her port engine
  • Waverley returned to service in 1981 and undertook her first “Steaming Round Britain” programme
  • On the Bristol Channel, White Funnel Steamers Ltd. (which had been formed on the demise of P.&A. Campbell) ceased operations leaving the Waverley companies to pick up the Bristol Channel baton – which they did wholeheartedly


December 1980 saw Waverley awaiting her new boiler at Stobcross Quay in Glasgow. She is joined by the former Sealink Isle of Wight ferry Shanklin, which had been purchased for £25,000 to become a consort vessel for Waverley.

The new boiler was to cost £80,000 (over £300,000 in today’s money). The total cost of the new boiler, two diesel alternators and switch board was £176,000.

A boiler appeal fund had been launched to raise the funds required with grants totalling £100,000 coming from the Scottish Tourist Board and Strathclyde Regional Council. Given the confidence of early contributions to the appeal the new boiler was ordered in September 1980.

Waverley sits under the Finnestone Crane with Prince Ivanhoe visible downriver adjacent to Waverley’s funnels.

The old boiler was removed in March and by April Waverley was back in steam.

The new boiler ready for its journey to Waverley from Badcock’s Renfrew works.

Waverley with no funnels berthed under the Finnestone Crane.

The new boiler is airborne as the Finnestone Crane makes light work of lifting it before swinging it over and into Waverley. The old boiler can be seen in the background.

Easy does it as the new boiler is lowered into Waverley with minimal clearance.

Guided by a foot as the new boiler is eased into the boiler room!

Slowly the new boiler was lowered into position to rest on Waverley’s hull.

The new boiler rests in the boiler room. The burners are clearly seen in this image.

The new boiler in situ.

The 1981 fuel consumption figure averaged 700 litres per hour compared to 1,000 for the old boiler – on fuel consumption alone it was a very successful project.

Unfortunately Prince Ivanhoe was abandoned to the underwriters as a constructive total loss after making contact with an underwater object which resulted in her being beached on 3rd August 1981. Waverley once again became a one ship operation and it would be 1986 before MV Balmoral became the second ship.