July 2011:
Paddle Steamers at Bournemouth in 1960

July 2011:
Paddle Steamers at Bournemouth in 1960

1960 was the last summer season in which Cosens based two paddle steamers at Bournemouth with a third coming up from Weymouth to augment the schedule one or two days a week.

First to start was the Monarch (pictured above at Bournemouth) which made her first trip that year on Tuesday May 31st and, throughout June, combined a schedule of backwards and forwards between Swanage and Bournemouth on Tuesdays and Thursdays with trips to Totland Bay, Isle of Wight on Sundays, Mondays and Fridays and Yarmouth on Wednesdays.

From June 1st she was joined each Wednesday by the Consul (funnel on the far side of the pier with the Embassy in the foreground) which came up from Weymouth and put in an afternoon double run between Swanage and Bournemouth.

Embassy arrived on the scene on Sunday July 3rd taking over all the Isle of Wight sailings and relegating the Monarch to the Swanage service. Wednesday June 29th 1960 was therefore the Monarch’s last ever scheduled call at Yarmouth although she did continue to visit Totland Bay on Wednesday evenings in August when, after a day running backwards and forwards to Swanage, she set off from Bournemouth at 6pm to collect any overspill passengers which could not be accommodated on the Embassy’s earlier 5pm departure. Special ham and egg suppers were served aboard.

On Saturdays only one ship operated, taking the Swanage service, so Embassy (pictured here) and Monarch had one day off every fortnight.

On Tuesdays 16th and 30th August the Monarch was advertised to run day trips from Bournemouth to Lulworth Cove departing at 10.45am back 6pm but the passengers only got as far as Swanage on the Monarch before they had to transfer to the Consul, which had come up from Weymouth with passengers on a day trip to Swanage, as she was the only one of the three capable of landing in the Cove.

Consul also came to Bournemouth on Thursdays in August and, whilst her Weymouth passengers were ashore, offered a “Cruise Towards the Needles Lighthouse Isle of Wight”. As she was only allotted a time slot of one and a half hours for this and, as the journey time each way to the Needles would have been more than an hour, this trip must always have been very much a “towards” rather than a “to” sort of cruise.

The last sailing from Bournemouth that season by Consul was on Thursday September 8th which also coincided with the Monarch’s last operational day. Embassy continued a similar schedule to the one Monarch had run in June until Friday September 23rd before she too retired to layup in Weymouth Harbour.

Their masters that season were Capt Haines on the Embassy, Capt Defrates on the Monarch and Capt Iliffe on the Consul. There was no relief captain.

All three paddlers are in the picture above laid up at Weymouth, with the Consul on the left, the Monarch in the foreground and the Embassy astern of her. In retrospect, 1960 was a golden summer for Bournemouth with all three paddlers running from the pier. After that it was downhill all the way for South Coast paddle steamers. Things would never be quite the same again.