Megoran’s Musings

John Megoran recalls the heyday and decline paddle steamers, particularly the Weymouth based paddle steamers that he grew up with. He did not know then that he would go on to help restore, manage and be principal captain of Kingswear Castle for nearly 30 years.
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70 years ago

12th July 1953:
Bournemouth Pier

If you had wanted an afternoon cruise from Bournemouth Pier on Sunday 12th July 1953 you would have had to choose between three different paddle steamers and three different trip

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Brighton to Bournemouth 1947

With all the South Coast piers breached during the Second World War to prevent enemy ships from landing alongside and disgorging troops, agents or whatever from their decks, it was

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75 years ago

11th July 1948:
Emperor of India

Following her post war rebuild, on Sunday 11th July 1948 Emperor of India was open to the public at Weymouth to inspect all the work which Cosens’ craftsmen had carried

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61 years ago

11th July 1962:
Whippingham

On Wednesday 11th July 1962 Whippingham returned to Portsmouth after her annual dry-docking at Southampton during which she had had a couple of hull plates renewed and her previously varnished

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87 years ago

10th July 1936:
Brighton Belle

At 8.43am on Wednesday 10th July 1936 Brighton Belle was struck by lightning off Eastbourne. She had spent the previous night at anchor off Hastings and, according to a local

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75 years ago

9th July 1948:
Embassy

On Friday 9th July 1948 Embassy ran aground in Poole Harbour on a falling tide whilst turning on a morning cruise from Bournemouth. The paddle steamers ran up and down

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59 years ago

8th July 1964:
Jeanie Deans

On Wednesday 8th July 1964 Jeanie Deans was rostered for the trip “Round the Lochs and Firth of Clyde” from Craigendoran (8.40am), to Gourock (9.25am), Dunoon (9.45am), Rothesay (10.25am), Largs

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59 years ago

7th July 1964:
Caledonia

On Tuesday 7th July 1964 Caledonia’s trips from Ayr were cancelled due to the weather. The following day, Wednesday 8th July she set off from Ayr at 2pm for an

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60 years ago

6th July 1963:
Ryde

Ryde made her first appearance of the 1963 season on the Portsmouth/Ryde ferry service on Saturday 6th July having had a protracted and unexpectedly expensive refit which included replacing several

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62 years ago

5th July 1961:
Swanage Queen

Wednesday 5th July 1961 was the first day of the season for Swanage Queen, ex Sussex Queen, ex Freshwater based at Poole and running a service between Bournemouth and Swanage

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96 years ago

5th July 1927:
Waverley

On Tuesday 5th July 1927 P & A Campbell’s paddle steamer Waverley was scheduled to run from Eastbourne at 9.40am and Brighton at 11am for a day trip giving about

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62 years ago

4th July 1961:
Consul

Consul’s first trip of the 1961 season from Weymouth to Swanage and Bournemouth was rostered for Tuesday 4th July. She was set to leave at 10am for a cruise along

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71 years ago

3rd July 1952:
Talisman

On Thursday 3rd July 1952 Talisman ran aground at Arrochar. In those days Waverley’s Class IV Passenger Certificate on “Partially Smooth Waters”, as then defined by the Board of Trade,

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63 years ago

2nd July 1960:
Embassy

Embassy made her first trips of the 1960 season on Saturday 2nd July running the Swanage service with departures from Bournemouth at 10.45am, 2.30pm, 4.15pm and 6pm and from Swanage

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88 years ago

1st July 1935:
Crested Eagle

On Monday 1st July 1935 Crested Eagle (“The Greyhound of the River”) was rostered to run from Tower Pier to Clacton and return later the same day. Departure from Tower

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60 years ago

30th June 1963:
Princess Elizabeth

Bought from Red Funnel into private ownership Princess Elizabeth (pictured here alongside at Weymouth June 1963) tried her hand at Torquay in 1960 and 1961, was then engaged on the

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64 years ago

29th June 1959:
Humber Paddle Steamers

Although primarily engaged on the Hull/New Holland ferry service the three Humber paddle steamers Lincoln Caste, Tattershall Castle and Wingfield Castle also undertook some excursions. For example, on Sundays from

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96 years ago

28th June 1927:
Brighton Belle

On Tuesday 28th June 1927 Brighton Belle was rostered for local trips along the Sussex Coast from the piers at Hastings, Eastbourne and Brighton. Her first passenger pick that day

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62 years ago

26th June 1961:
Medway Queen

On Monday 26th June 1961 Medway Queen was scheduled to leave Strood Pier (9.15am) for Southend (10.55am) and Herne Bay (12.30pm). She then ran a round trip from Herne Bay

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65 years ago

25th June 1958:
Embassy

The Bournemouth Echo for Friday 27th June 1958 records that on the previous Wednesday 25th June Embassy was unable to bring her passengers back from their day trip on the

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57 years ago

24th June 1966:
Cardiff Queen

On Friday 24th June 1966 Cardiff Queen was in drydock at Cardiff after a leak had been found in one of her bottom plates the previous morning. This is something

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61 years ago

24th June 1962:
Bristol Queen

On Sunday 24th June 1962 Bristol Queen was scheduled to leave Barry at 9.20am (with rail connection from Cardiff) for Ilfracombe where she was due at 11.50am before sailing on

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39 years ago

23rd June 1984:
Kingswear Castle

On Saturday 23rd June 1984 Kingswear Castle ran a single trip from Strood to Gravesend via Southend and Tilbury carrying 11 passengers. This was a sort of shake down season

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98 years ago

23rd June 1925:
Eastbourne

On Tuesday 23rd June 1925 three P & A Campbell paddle steamers, Ravenswood, Devonia and Brighton Belle were scheduled to make calls at Eastbourne Pier with the first departure at

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72 years ago

22nd June 1951:
Empress Queen

On Friday 22nd June 1951 the work to repair the damage to the stern of Empress Queen caused at Avonmouth on 14th June was nearing completion. She left the Cumberland

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72 years ago

22nd June 1951:
Solent Queen

On 22nd June 1951 a fire broke out in the aft saloon of Red Funnel’s Solent Queen whilst on the slipway at Southampton causing considerable damage to the ship and

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91 years ago

22nd June 1932:
Westward Ho

Westward Ho made her first trip of the season from Plymouth on Wednesday 22nd June 1932 sailing on an excursion to Prawle Point with 98 passengers aboard. She had arrived

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74 years ago

21st June 1949:
Emperor of India

On Tuesday 21st June 1949 Emperor of India was scheduled for a two hour trip leaving Weymouth at 1.15pm to view HMS Anson leaving Portland with Princess Elizabeth and the

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66 years ago

21st June 1957:
Crested Eagle

On charter to P & A Campbell for the season, the General Steam Navigation Co’s diesel powered Crested Eagle was scheduled to run a day trip leaving Brighton at 10am

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68 years ago

20th June 1955:
Glen Gower

On Monday 20th June 1955 Glen Gower set off from Cardiff (9.45am) for Penarth (9.55am), Barry (10.35am) and Ilfracombe (2pm), where she picked up connections from Bristol (8.45am), Clevedon (9.45am),

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61 years ago

20th June 1962:
Consul

On Wednesday 20th June 1962 Consul (ex Duke of Devonshire) was scheduled to leave Weymouth at 10am for a day trip to Swanage and Bournemouth due back at 8.15pm under

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