Regal Clyde Cruising with the Queen Mary!!!
pleasure steamer Queen Mary
has had an uncertain future since
she was withdrawn from Firth of
Clyde service. She was withdrawn
quite soon after Waverley
started her preservation career.
Since that time, Queen Mary's
longest career was as a moored
restaurant ship on the Thames
Embankment. She now lies lifeless
in Tilbury docks and her future
is uncertain. The PSPS Collection
is collecting as much material
as it can to keep alive the memories
of this fine Clyde steamer.
to buy your set of plans...
want to build your own Waverley?
A set of plans are available
to get you started on your
project! The set of plans
show Waverley as she
was in the 1980s. It includes
details of the steamer at
the time. If you would like
to see images of Waverley
at any stage of her career
since 1947, just look on this
website or ask for help! If
you would like to obtain a
set of these rare plans just
s end a cheque for £4.95
made payable to 'Waverley
Excursions' to: Joe McKendrick,
Waverley Excursions, 36 Lancefield
Quay, Glasgow G3 8HA.
60 Years of Paddle Steamers
|Its sixty years
to the day since the Queen came to
the throne. Those sixty years have
witnessed the decline of the UK paddle
steamer fleet as well as one or two
more success stories. The PSPS Collection
has a number of items connected with
the Queen such as material relating
to the 1953 Coronation and 1977 Silver
Jubilee Fleet Reviews. This along
with many other items, will be shown
in a special online gallery in June.
It will also include commemorative
paddle steamer material from the 2012
celebrations. We are though still
looking for more material covering
the 1953 and 1977 events. We would
especially welcome heritage cine film
and personal memories of these events.
If you have any material please contact
us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Splendid Queen of the Channel.....
of a Favourite River Thames Pleasure
images showing the Queen of the
Channel posted a few days ago
sparked a lot of interest and happy
memories of this fine old steamer.
In response to requests, a further
selection of images has been added
above. The square black and white
images are 'Vistascreen' stereo images
that were viewable in small plastic
hand-held devices sold in the early
1960s. Queen of the Channel
looks quite amazing when seen in 3D!
The Queen of the Channel was
withdrawn less than twenty years after
she entered service. At one point
in the late 1970s or early 1980s,
she was considered as a consort for
the Waverley. Enjoy these views
of a favourite Thames pleasure steamer!
Fine Dining with the Eagle Steamers.....
& Dinner Memories of the River
seems to have been one of the great
experiences of a pleasure steamer
in the past. The days of liveried
stewards, crested crockery, impressive
silver-plated tea pots and initialled
table linen may have gone forever,
but its nice to now and again have
an item donated that brings those
grand days alive again. The images
above show some of these items. The
PSPS Collection was lucky enough to
have had a large collection of General
Steam Navigation table linen donated
to it recently. These beautiful items
look wonderful beside our crested
silver-plate and menus. The photographs
shown above show the splendid dining
and bar interiors of the famous Queen
of the Channel of the River Thames
as well as one image of the Royal
Eagle's Dining Saloon in 1932.
All of these images are great treasures
of our collection and allow us to
keep alive the memories of fine dining
on the River Thames.
Cosens of Weymouth.....
Rare Reminders of Dining with Cosens
One of the nicest and most evocative
types of material in any maritime
collection is that of crockery and
silver-plate. The crests of the operating
companies are usually shown prominantly
on these and make them a very attractive
reminder of a particular company.
The examples above have just been
acquired by the PSPS Collection and
were once used aboard the paddle steamers
of the famous Cosens company of Weymouth.
Material such as this is becoming
very rare these days and the PSPS
Collection would be delighted to acquire
more examples from any UK company.
If you can help please contact us
at email@example.com .
...How it all Started!!
Paddler for a Pound!
Its hard to believe that its now almost
40 years since the PSPS acquired Waverley.
The press release shown above is just
one item from a huge personal archive
that was recently donated to the PSPS.
This important donation covers all
aspects of the acquisition of the
Waverley as well as the first
few seasons under the PSPS flag. Its
a hugely important acquisition for
the PSPS Collection and now becomes
the centrepiece of our national Waverley
.....Fond Memories of the Royal Eagle!!!
marks the 80th anniversary of the entry
into service of the famous River Thames
paddle steamer Royal Eagle. Built
on the River Mersey by Cammell Laird, the
Royal Eagle arrived on the Thames
in May 1932. She certainly had some very
fine facilities and some of these are shown
above. Particularly impressive was the extensive
Observation Lounge. It had a large number
of Lloyd Loom chairs and tables. Dancing
was sometimes held in this fine saloon.
A delightful half-timbered Cocktail Bar
is also shown and it gave a period feel
to what was a very modern steamer for the
time. All of these facilities were of course
under the command of the famous Captain
William Branthwaite. Bill is shown here
along with some young ladies on the bridge
of his steamer around the time of her entry
into service. Royal Eagle was certainly
a splendid paddle steamer!
Gravesend Town Pier.....Its Past & Future!!
and Balmoral have for many years
passed one of the most historic piers
in the UK during their annual visits to
the River Thames. The Town Pier at Gravesend
is the oldest cast iron pier in the world
and dates from 1834. It was used for many
years as the calling point for the Gravesend
to Tilbury ferry. Many well-loved paddle
ferries and steamers such as Tilbury,
Edith, Catherine and Rose
used it until it eventually closed in
1968. Over the next thirty plus years
it became derelict but was restored to
its full glory and re-opened again in
2004. 2012 marks a another milestone in
the story of the Town Pier as it will
re-open to pleasure boats again. The photographs
above was taken on 14 January 2012. It
shows the pier's pontoon nearing completion
ready for the summer of 2012. Its good
to see a famous old pier re-open for pleasure
steamers again after so many years of
closure. It looks like the PSPS Collection
will have some photographs of a 2012 paddle
steamer alongside the pier very soon!!
Oral History & the PSPS
One of the areas of our
work that has never been fully explored
is that of oral history. Paddle steamers
are as much about the people that
worked on them or enjoyed them as
they are about dates and facts! We
would love to embark soon on an oral
history programme to record the stories
of people that remember the heyday
of paddle steamers and then to produce
a CD, book or DVD to make this heritage
accessible. The big problem is finding
suitable people to use in the project.
If you know of anybody that may be
suitable, let us know as it would
be great to record memories before
they vanish forever!
- Membership of the special email newsletter
is exceedng our expectations.
- Its always good to get even more people
to join, so let your friends and fellow
enthusiasts know so that we can spread
the word about paddle steamer heritage
to an even greater audience!
- People can do this by simply typing
their email into the special box on
the home page of the Heritagesteamers
website! Why not sign up to get exclusive
Kingswear Castle.....of the River Medway!!!!...
2012 brings with
it some anniversaries and important dates.
This year marks a special milestone for
Kingswear Castle. In 2012, she has
passed the point where she has spent as
much time on the River Medway as she spent
on the River Dart! She entered service on
the Dart in 1924 and was eventually withdrawn
from service in 1965 - a period of 41 years.
She arrived on the River Medway in June
1971....so she now has spent 41 years on
the River Medway! Her 'Medway' life has
been very different to her life on the River
Dart. After a lengthy restoration, she has
been in regular passenger service since
1985. Highlights of her career on the Medway
and Thames have included regular visits
to London as well as attending the annual
'Parade of Steam' with Waverley and
A Forgotten Paddle Steamer
Few items remain of this forgotten
paddle steamer ...
The paddle steamer Gracie
Fields is rarely mentioned these
days. She had one of the shortest
careers of any steamer and was launched
by the famous film and variety star
- Gracie Fields 75 years ago this
year on 8 April 1936. At the launch,
Miss Fields was presented with a brooch
by Red Funnel bearing precious stones
associated with their early steamers.
Unfortunately, this was stolen from
her home several years later. The
Gracie Fields was unusual in
that she was named after a celebrity
rather than the normal tradition of
royalty and nobility. Perhaps a Director
of Red Funnel was a fan of Miss Fields
and wanted to meet her! The steamer
was quite similar to the Princess
Elizabeth and had a raised forecastle.
This was designed to keep the spray
off the cars that she carried in her
well deck between Southampton and
the Isle of Wight. The Gracie Fields
performed a variety of duties including
excursions and tendering liners. The
Gracie Fields was requisitioned
for minesweeping duties in 1939 and
went to Dunkirk to take part in the
evacuation. After one successful trip,
she was hit by a bomb and was badly
damaged. She was soon taking on water
and sank on 30 May 1940.
The Gracie Fields is largely
forgotten these days due to her short
career and sad end. Due to these reasons,
very little remains to remind us of
this once splendid paddle steamer.
We have just seven items in the PSPS
Collection connected with the steamer.
The nicest of these is the postcard
shown above. It was sold on her first
cruise and includes a printed programme
for the day on the reverse. It would
be nice to collect more material of
this forgotten paddle steamer.
Best Wishes for the New Year !!!
weeks have seen a great deal of
material collected to record the
2011 season on Waverley,
Kingswear Castle and Balmoral.
A big thank you to all of those
that helped to collect handbills,
posters and souvenirs to complete
this task! This has of course just
start again as the first of the
new 2012 timetables has been published.
2011 was an excellent year for the
PSPS Collection with a record number
of individual donations being made.
Two donations in particular stand
out. The first was the collection
of the late Ken Angell who was a
great supporter of the steamers
for many years and who worked on
Waverley and Balmoral.
His family donated a huge archive
showing his life aboard the steamers.
Another major donation contained
a vast collection of material relating
to the early years of Waverley's
preservation career in the mid 1970s.
This collection has yet to be catalogued,
but it contains some real gems!
Material from both of these donations
will be placed online in the near
The PSPS Collection
has really gained a reputation with
researchers over recent months.
In 2011, a total of 563 research
enquiries were made from people,
museums and the media from all over
the world! This has meant that the
heritage of paddle steamers has
been seen by a worldwide audience
which is terrific news!
A big thank-you
goes out to all of those PSPS members
and other individuals who have helped
the PSPS in this important work
during 2011. Hopefully, 2012 will
see even more progress with paddle
the Movies.....with Paddle Steamers!!!
Waverley & Sherlock Holmes
A tradition of Christmas is going
to see a movie! Many of you will remember
that Waverley took part in
filming at Dover at the end of her
2010 season. This was for a new Sherlock
Holmes movie featuring Robert Downey
Jnr and Jude Law titled 'Sherlock
Holmes: A Game of Shadows'. Waverley
looks truly stunning in this new movie
that went on general release on Friday
16 December. Is this the first major
movie that Waverley has taken
part in over her 65 years? Paddle
steamers have taken part in several
movies including the Empress
in 'Great Expectations' and the Medway
Queen in 'Dunkirk' and 'French
Dressing'. Let us know if you know
of any other movies with paddle steamers
in them! Enjoy seeing Waverley
in the new movie as well!
- With Christmas and birthdays
in mind, a number of excellent paddle steamer
gifts are available that would suit any paddle
steamer enthusiast interested in heritage
- Chris Phillips has just finished
a superb new DVD on Kingswear Castle
with rare cine film showing her on the River
Dart and her restoration along with film showing
her during the 2011 season
- Another ideal present is Mike
Tedstone's super new book 'Balmoral and
the Bristol Channel Pleasure Steamers'
- Richard Clammer's book on Cosens
from 1848-1918 is still available from Kingwear
- Keith Adams excellent book
'Red Funnel 150' is a perfect stocking filler
and marks the 150th birthday of the famous
- Heritage DVDs and the Cosens
book are available from the KC website and
a range of gifts are available by mail order
by contacting Waverley Excursions
Sunny Days on the Bristol Channel
shows the familiar figure of Sidney
Clifton Smith Cox. He's in a small
boat about to land at Lundy from one
of the paddle steamers in his fleet.
Smith Cox was a great figure in paddle
steamer operation. His great love
of paddle steamers was backed up with
a fine business mind and he managed
to keep pleasure steamers cruising
for many years on the Bristol Channel
and elsewhere. The PSPS Collection
is lucky enough to have his wonderful
collection of paddle steamer ephemera.
His collection is now being enjoyed
by countless hundreds of people around
Elizabeth in 1963
Elizabeth is rarely mentioned these
days. She now survives in her preserved
condition at Dunkirk. This famous south
coast steamer steamer has had a long life
having been built in 1927 for Red Funnel.
She was withdrawn in 1959 and later purchased
by Torbay Steamers Ltd who operated her
from Torquay, Bournemouth and Weymouth.
These photographs show her during a lively
cruise from Weymouth on 25 August 1963.
The PSPS Collection is lucky enough to have
the splendid brass wheel of the Princess
Elizabeth in its collection.
are always being donated to the PSPS
Collection showing Waverley.
These photographs were donated yesterday
but where were they taken? We have
no details at all for the top one
- do you know when and where it was
taken? The bottom photograph was taken
on 24 May 1975 which was Waverley's
first trip. Do you know the location
of the pier? If you have the answers
let us know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
North Wales with the St Trillo!
five years ago on Wednesday 27 May
1936, the St Silio entered
service in North Wales. She became
synonymous with the Llandudno to Caernarvon
sailings in the Menai Straits as well
as the Manchester Ship Canal cruises.
After the war, she was renamed St
Trillo and continued to give pleasure
steamer cruises in North Wales for
another quarter of a century. Material
on the North Wales pleasure steamers
is very scarce and material such as
the postcards shown above is rarely
found or donated. The PSPS is hoping
to build up its collection of North
Wales material in the years ahead.
on the River Mersey in 1977
of photographs showing Waverley
at Liverpool has recently been donated
to the PSPS Collection. They show
Waverley during her first trip
away from the Firth of Clyde. The
famous skyline of Liverpool makes
a fine backdrop to a very special
paddle steamer. The top photograph
shows the famous 'Liver Bird' looking
down on Waverley framed against
the 'Three Graces' at Liverpool on
6 May 1977. The bottom photograph
shows Waverley cruising in
the River Mersey on 29 April 1977.
First Cruise of the Gracie Fields!
|The paddle steamer
Gracie Fields is rarely mentioned
these days. She had one of the shortest
careers of any steamer and was launched
by the famous film and variety star
- Gracie Fields on 8 April 1936. At
the launch, Miss Fields was presented
with a brooch by Red Funnel bearing
precious stones associated with their
early steamers. Unfortunately, this
was stolen from her home several years
later. The steamer was lost at Dunkirk
just a few years the launch. Few items
remain to remind us of this popular
Little Bit More Waverley!
After several requests,
some more Waverley material has been
added to the 'News' page! A quick check
has also shown that we now have over 5,700
items in the PSPS Collection on Waverley.
A recent enquiry asked whether we have any
Liverpool and North Wales material showing
Waverley and Balmoral. If
anybody has any images of Waverley's
first historic call at Llandudno we would
love to hear from you!
A Little Bit of Waverley!
Material showing Waverley
continues to enter the PSPS Collection.
Its amazing that every week brings some
new piece of Waverley material. The
few items above have been donated over recent
months. The top shows a pen and wash original
by long-term Waverley supporter John
Nicholson. Below this is a postcard showing
a minute Waverley at Folkestone with
a steam locomotive passing in the foreground.
We then have a Waverley serviette
that will be remembered by many. Next to
this is a postcard showing Waverley
and Balmoral at Ilfracombe. Finally
at the bottom is a postcard showing Waverley
at a location that might be a mystery to
many. It shows her arriving at Girvan on
the Ayrshire coast sometime around 1985.
Have a look at some of our past articles.
Click on the image to see our latest acquisitions
and paddle steamer heritage news since 2008.