Waverley’s first visit to London 40 years ago – On film!

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

Waverley’s first visit to London 40 years ago – On film!

Forty years ago on Saturday 29th April 1978 Paddle Steamer Waverley sailed under Tower Bridge and arrived in London for the very first time in her career. To mark this anniversary the most recent video on the PSPS YouTube Channel  shows footage of that first trip.

1978 may only have been Waverley’s 4th season in preservation but it took her further away from the Clyde than she had been before in a bid to earn sufficient revenue to make up for the significant losses in 1977.  Having left Glasgow on 15th April Waverley returned to the city on 21st May having steamed more than 7,000 miles, recorded over 54,000 passenger journeys, made over 120 passenger carrying calls at ports or piers and operated for over 400 hours.

The 1978 programme on the South Coast and Thames was very ambitious by any standards, but considering Waverley had never before rounded Lands End, sailed up the river Thames to London and passed under Tower Bridge it was an adventure which widened her appeal far beyond her home waters on the Clyde.

The page in the Traffic Book from 1978 which records that 476 passengers boarded Waverley at Tower Pier London for her first cruise from the capital on Saturday 29th April. Note on the 2nd sailing on Sunday 30th April she carried 884 from London. PSPS Collection
A flyer showing the first Thames sailings listed as a timetable. PSPS Collection

Return fares for sailings down the Thames from London started at £1 to Greenwich, £5.95 to Southend or £7.50 to Clacton.

The reverse side of the same flyer listed the fares which applied for that first season on the Thames. PSPS Collection
Waverley’s paddle box in 1978 alongside Tower Pier. PSPS Collection

Waverley has been a regular visitor to the Thames ever since 1978 and in 2018 she will once again offer cruises downriver from the Pool of London. Her 2018 Thames programme runs from Friday 21st September through to Sunday 7th October. Tickets are on sale now from Waverley Excursions on-line or by calling 0141 243 2224. Weekend sailings from London often sell out in advance so booking is advisable to secure a ticket.

Waverley’s 2018 Thames timetable.