On Monday 10th April 1961 the Dorset Evening Echo printed a photograph of progress on the scrapping of Cosens’s Monarch in the Haulbowline Industries scrapyard in Cork. She had left Weymouth under tow on 1st March with the voyage taking just under two days. Work commenced on her demolition in mid March. By Monday 10th April it was well advanced.
Monarch looks a sorry sight. Gone is the bridge and deckhouse under it containing the captain’s cabin and the purser’s office. Gone are the funnel, two of the large ventilators designed to provide air for the boiler, the starboard paddle wheel and sponson. All gone. And as you can see a crane is lifting away a part of the portside sponson with two sad looking doorways which had previously opened into the lavatories now opening onto fresh air.
Monarch was built as the Shanklin thirty seven years earlier in 1924 for the Southern Railway Portsmouth to Ryde route. I have a copy of the Contract Conditions and Specifications for her build with me. Here are a few pages from that to cheer us all up:
All gone now? Or not quite all gone? A tiny handful of things do remain. I have here with me not only her spec but also her last name pennant and house flag given to my ten year old self by Cosns’s then General Manager Don Brookes in March 1961.
And I still have her starboard paddle box crest with the Cosens’s house-flag painted on it by Cosens’s sign writer Mike Carter which I bought at an auction at Christie’s in London in the 1990s. So little bits of her do remain with us after all.
Kingswear Castle returned to service in 2023 after the first part of a major rebuild which is designed to set her up for the next 25 years running on the River Dart. The Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust is now fund raising for the second phase of the rebuild. You can read more about the rebuilds and how you can help if you can here.
This article was first published on 10th April 2021.