Paddle Steamers - A Unique Heritage Preserved

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Recent Acquisitions & News - Summer 2010
Waverley visits the Isle of Man

Waverley at Whitehaven
Here's another of our Waverley postcards.It shows the paddler about to depart on one of her Isle of Man trips from Whitehaven in Cumbria during the 1980s. They were certainly popular by the look of the crowded decks and the queue on the pier. We're always on the look out for postcards showing Waverley around the coastline of the UK to add to our collection to ensure that we have every Waverley postcard produced! If you have one or see one in a shop we would love to have it as a donation. Please send to: PSPS, 31 Meadow Road, Gravesend, Kent, DA11 7LR.
Waverley at Bournemouth Pier

Waverley at Bournemouth Pier around 1995
We now have almost 5,000 items in the PSPS Collection on Waverley. Of these, we have an amazing 452 postcards of Waverley! We have few postcards of Waverley during her Firth of Clyde career but since 1975, the number has increased dramatically. Whilst a great deal are the official postcards were sold in her souvenir shop, a huge number of others have been published around the coastline of the UK to publicise the many seaside resorts that Waverley visits each year. The postcard above is common of these and shows Waverley at Bournemouth Pier around 1995. We are always on the look out for more postcards to add to our collection to ensure that we have every Waverley postcard produced! If you have one or see one in a shop we would love to have it as a donation. Please send to: PSPS, 31 Meadow Road, Gravesend, Kent, DA11 7LR.
Day Trips to France on the Royal Daffodil

GSNC poster from 1965 offering day trips to France
If you wanted a day at Calais or Boulogne in 1965 then the best way to get there was aboard the famous and well-loved Royal Daffodil!

This poster has recently been acquired by the PSPS Collection and we believe it to be very rare. It originally came from the head office of GSNC in London. The poster (shown opposite) was a sample of a new design for the company and its likely that the poster was never printed.

The evocative design is a wonderful reminder of the wonderful pleasure steamers of the Eagle Steamer fleet and the vast array of cruises that they offered to holidaymakers in post-war years. Just over a year after this poster was printed services had sadly ceased.
Detail from the poster showing the well-loved Royal Daffodil
Skegness Paddle Steamers & Balmoral Model Plans

Salty Sam at Skegness - did he ever travel on a paddle steamer?
Does anyone know whether there was ever a paddle steamer service between Skegness and Hunstanton? its probable that any service was operational during the late nineteenth century. Any information would be appreciated!

Also, does anybody know whether any modelmakers plans have ever been produced of Balmoral? If you have an answer to the above we would be pleased to hear from you!

Please email any information to .
Are there any model makers plans of Balmoral?
Charters on the Firth of Clyde

If you wanted to charter a steamer on the Firth of Clyde during the late 1950s or early 1960s, you were spoilt for choice. No less than eleven ships were available with the Waverley, Jeanie Deans, Caledonia, Queen Mary II, Duchess of Hamilton and Duchess of Montrose being the largest and capable of carrying parties of over 500.

This was the heyday of the works or old folks outing "Doon the Watter" to such popular resorts of Rothesay and Dunoon. Parties were also encouraged to cruise aboard the Maid of the Loch which was capable of carrying between 400 to 1,000 passengers. Do you remember being a passenger on such a charter or do you have any photographs or film of such a cruise?
River Dart Memories

A scene on the River Dart showing one of the famous paddle steamers at Sharpham Woods
This postcard was recently acquired for the PSPS Collection. It shows the great beauty of the River Dart in Devon where a famous fleet of traditional paddle steamers existed until the mid 1960s. The positive thing about this postcard is that the Kingswear Castle was acquired for preservation and operation by the PSPS in 1965. Kingswear Castle has since found an exciting new life on the River Medway in Kent. On a lovely sunny day she can be seen cruising past the dense woods of Upnor - a scene quite evocative of the postcard above showing a view of Sharpham Woods.
Souvenirs of the Prince Ivanhoe

Badge from the Prince Ivanhoe Book of matches from the Prince Ivanhoe Dish from the Prince Ivanhoe
The Prince Ivanhoe had a very short career as the consort to Waverley. During those brief months in 1981 she was marketed along the lines of Waverley and was featured on a range of souvenirs as well as timetables and publicity material. We have in the PSPS Collection a number of these souvenirs and handbills and they remind us of a popular steamer. Do you have any souvenirs or photographs of the Prince Ivanhoe?
Lincoln Castle Plans

The Lincoln Castle in her heyday Every week we receive requests from modelmakers all over the world looking for plans to build a model of their favourite pleasure steamer. Sometimes the PSPS can help but at other times we can offer no assistance.

Recently, a UK modelmaker was looking for plans to make a model of the Lincoln Castle. Does anyone know where such plans could be obtained? Also, does anyone know of a specialist stockist of modelmakers plans?
"Eyes Down" on the Royal Daffodil!

The Royal Daffodil became the world's first bingo ship during the early 1960s
It was "eyes down" aboard the Royal Daffodil during the early 1960s when the well-loved Thames steamer became the world's first Bingo Ship! Passengers were entertained during the cruise by Humprey Lyttleton & his band as well as Sid Shillips & his orchestra. Other contests were held including one for a bathing beauty. Hopefully, the weather was good for this! General Steam Navigation planned to have the extravaganza televised. It was one of the final attempts to attract crowds back to the once busy Thames steamer fleet but alas it failed. Were you aboard this cruise and better still did you win bingo or were you the bathing beauty winner?
A Look Back at Cosens in 1905

A history of Cosens printed in 1905
The PSPS has just acquired this history of the well-loved operator of paddle steamers - Cosens of Weymouth.

The guide dates from 1905 and gives us a fascinating insight into the company at the time. As well as showing directors, it shows us amazing images of the company premises. It also gives us some interesting facts such as the fare from Weymouth to Southampton aboard the first steamer Rose in 1845 was 10 shillings for saloon and 2/6 for deck passengers!

This wonderful early history of Cosens is a fine addition to our growing collection of Cosens material.
Part of Cosens fitting shop Mr S. J. Foster the Managing Director of Cosens in 1905
Coronation Year 1953

1953 GSNC Coronation Naval Review Souvenir Programme
The 1953 Coronation Naval Review at Spithead witnessed the final great meeting of pleasure steamers in the UK. Fondly remembered steamers such as Royal Daffodil, Consul, Ryde, Emperor of India, Royal Sovereign and Cardiff Queen took part in the review on 15th June.

The splendid souvenir programme shown opposite was recently acquired by the collection. As well as giving details of the ships taking part, it includes a map showing the position of ships as well as an outline of events aboard the General Steam Navigation steamers. Diners aboard the Royal Daffodil enjoyed a special dinner of lobster, salmon, roast chicken and strawberries and ice cream.

Were you there at the event? Did you take any cine film or photographs?
Map showing ships in the naval review
A Look Back in Time Through Unique Film

Click to view the heritage cine film
Click to view the heritage cine films!

Some fascinating heritage cine films from the PSPS Collection have been placed online recently.

These unique films show us a large array of paddle steamers during the years after the Second World War. Of particular note are a series of films taken on the Firth of Clyde during the 1960s. These show steamers such as Caledonia, Duchess of Hamilton and the legendary Waverley. These are from the new DVD 'Dad on the Clyde' produced by the PSPS Film Unit.

The Lincoln Castle can also be seen in happier days on the Humber undertaking a PSPS charter cruise. Latest news is that dismantling has started aboard her at Grimsby. At the moment this is internal only.

The PSPS Heritage Film Unit has been active for over twenty years now and has done an amazing job in rescuing and restoring old cine film. The DVD's produced have raised a great deal of money for the surviving steamers. The unit is always on the look out for more material. So, if you would like to help us to achieve our educational role and to preserve some priceless memories of the past just contact us on the new PSPS Heritage Film Unit page!

Do You Know This Man?

Silhouette of a passenger cut aboard the Royal Eagle during the 1930s Folder for a silhouette cut aboard the PS Royal Eagle around 1935
A common sight at many seaside resorts after the Second World War was that of the silhouette artist. Do you remember walking on a pier and seeing such an artist who magically cut the silhouette of your head from a piece of black paper? The unique item above was cut aboard the famous PS Royal Eagle on the River Thames during the 1930s by an artist named Leon. It is the first silhouette that has been seen that was cut aboard a paddle steamer. Do you remember 'Leon' or other artists aboard the 'Eagle Steamers'?
What happened to the Caledonia?

The Caledonia after the fire that destroyed her
These two sad photographs show the former Firth of Clyde paddle steamer Caledonia immediately after the fire that destroyed her. She's shown on the Thames Embankment in London. Her place was later taken by the Clyde favourite Queen Mary II.

Does anybody know what happend to the Caledonia after the fire? Where was she scrapped and were any fittings saved from her.

If you have an answer email
The Caledonia after the fire that destroyed her
'Wight Marina' Coffee Pot

Coffee pot used at the 'Wight Marina'
Detail of the coffee pot logo showing the Ryde and Medway Queen

The PSPS Collection has just acquired a coffee pot that was used at the 'Wight Marina' on the Isle of Wight around 1970. The coffee pot shows profiles of both the Ryde and Medway Queen. Both paddle steamers were moored at the time as floating restaurants and clubs and the pot is a rare souvenir of those days.

In the years that followed, both paddle steamers experienced more challenging times as the venture failed. Medway Queen returned to the River Medway during the 1980s for restoration but the Ryde sadly experienced a less postive future.

The PSPS Collection has several other items relating to the 'Wight Marina'. These include several postcards, some flyers as well as one other piece of china. In addition, it also has several images of the Kingswear Castle when she was briefly moored at the Isle of Wight during the late 1960s. If you would like to make a donation of other 'Wight Marina' material please contact .

What Badge Should I Wear Today?

Brighton Belle badge from the 1930s
Britannia badge from the 1930s
Glen Usk badge from the 1930s
Glen Avon badge from the 1930s
Cambria badge from the 1930s
Ravenswood badge from the 1930s
Mary Morgan with her mother and grandfather on the Birnbeck Pier at Weston in 1936

Six badges have recently been donated to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society Collection. They show six paddle steamers of the P&A Campbell fleet during the 1930s.

They were bought for the little girl shown at the centre of the above photograph. The little girl named Mary Morgan frequently travelled aboard the Campbell paddlers and would wait in excitement on the end of Penarth Pier to see which steamer was approaching. When she recognised the ship she put on their badge and then placed the rest back into their box. Mary is pictured with her mother Dorothy of Penarth and her grandfather Captain Arthur Williams who lived at Weston. He is seen carrying their luggage on the Birnbeck Pier in 1936. Mary clearly remembers some 74 years later that the coat in the photograph was green tweed and that she was wearing a dark green beret. Mary's mother is wearing her fox fur, hat and heels for the journey from Penarth.

The PSPS Collection is grateful to Mary for donating these lovely badges. The story behind then as well as the photographs certainly tell us a lot about the well-loved Campbell paddle steamers during the 1930s. They also tell us that people and their stories aboatd the paddle steamers are as important as the steamers themselves.

Views of Kingswear Castle

Kingswear Castle at the Medway Bridge Marina at Borstal circa 1973

Kingswear Castle at Medway Bridge Marina
The images shown here are a few more examples of recent donations to the PSPS Collection of material relating to the restoration and preservation of Kingswear Castle.

The plaque below was painted on slate by a maritime artist and the other images show Kingswear Castle at Borstal during her lengthy restoration. The PSPS Collection badly needs material relating to Kingswear Castle during her days on the River Dart. We would paticularly like to acquire more photographs, cine film and ephemera. If you have anything please contact

A hand-painted slate tile showing Kingswear Castle around 2000


The Restoration of Kingswear Castle

Patrick Taylor helping to restore the forward saloon

The PSPS Collection has just acquired a number of interesting images showing the restoration of Kingswear Castle during the 1970s. They give us a unique glimpse into the past and show how much Kingswear Castle had deteriorated in the few years since her withdrawal from service in 1965.

These two images show PSPS founder members Patrick Taylor and Laurie Beale working aboard KC in 1973. The mud in the photograph below shows how difficult and challenging the restoration could be at times. The photo opposite shows Patrick working in the forward saloon.

Laurie Beale working in the mud at the Medway Bridge Marina

Ryde and Medway Queen on the Isle of Wight

Saucer showing the Ryde and Medway Queen at the Wight Marina
The PSPS Collection has just acquired this rare saucer that was once used at the Wight Marina on the Isle of Wight. It shows two paddle steamers that once shared a home. They are the Ryde and Medway Queen. The saucer dates from around the late 1960s and gives us a glimpse at a time when the two steamers were experiencing a new life after being withdrawn from service.

The logo showing the two famous paddle steamers

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Have a look at some of our past articles.
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and paddle steamer heritage news since 2008.
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Our Collection Needs You!

Princess Elizabeth ticket booth in the early 1960sWE NEED YOUR DONATIONS!

We have a great collection but with your help we can make it even greater! Donations are always welcome!

The PSPS is a registered charity (No 298328) with a core aim of preserving historic material relating to paddle steamers and educating the public on their heritage. Its collection is managed under UK Museum Association guidelines. Any material donated would therefore find a safe and permanent home where future generations will be able to enjoy and use it.

If you would like to donate material to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society Collection please direct your enquiry to:

PSPS, 31 Meadow Road, Gravesend, Kent, DA11 7LR
or email:



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