On Friday 10th September 1937 there were nine trip options offered from Eastbourne Pier by two paddle steamers.
In 1936 P & A Campbell had based four paddle steamers on the Sussex Coast, Brighton Queen, Glen Gower, Waverley and Brighton Belle but this turned out to be too many for the available demand so for 1937 only the first three returned with Brighton Belle retained for service on the Bristol Channel.
The name Waverley can be a bit confusing in paddle steamer circles as there were so many of them. This Waverley here at Eastbourne in 1937 is the second one to be owned by P & A Campbell. She was built in 1907 as the Barry, was bought by Campbells in 1911, renamed Waverley in 1926 and sunk by German bombers on 5th July 1941 off Sunderland.
The steamer notice doesn’t say which paddle steamer was offering which sailing on this day but the local trips would almost certainly have been run by Waverley as usual as we know that she lost her cross Channel Passenger Certificate in 1934.
Both Brighton Queen and Glen Gower were certificated to run to France and often did with Brighton Queen most usually scheduled for this particularly in the peak weeks at this time. But on this day we can’t be sure which one it was. However we do know that whichever one it wasn’t was otherwise scheduled to run from Brighton to the Isle of Wight.
Let’s take a look in detail at how this day panned out at Eastbourne Pier.
10.40am Waverley arrived from Hastings with passengers for time ashore at Eastbourne or to transfer to either Brighton Queen or Glen Gower for Boulogne.
10.50am (Brighton Queen or Glen Gower) had arrived from Brighton to load more passengers for Boulogne where she was due in about 2.30pm for four and a half hours ashore. Departure time back for Eastbourne was 7.15pm. The trip included free admission to the Casino and for an additional price there was the option of a “Motor Tour to Touquet-Paris Plage”. Fare 11/6 (£40 today)
11.15am (Waverley) “Morning Cruise Round the Royal Sovereign Lightship” for which “papers and magazines etc for the lightship crew” were collected around the deck on the way out and transferred by basket. Back 12.30pm Fare 1/6 (£5.40 today)
12.30pm (Waverley) Hastings for either about one hour or four and a half hours ashore leaving Hastings for the return at either 2.30pm or 6.10pm. Fare2/6 (£8.60 today)
3.30pm (Waverley) “Afternoon Cruise Towards Newhaven Breakwater also viewing the arrival of the Dieppe mail steamer” Due back 5pm Fare 2/- (£7 today)
5pm (Waverley) “Cheap Trip to Hastings and Back” non landing. Due back 7.10pm Fare 1/6 (£5.40 today)
7.15pm (Waverley) “Evening Cruise Round the Royal Sovereign Lightship” for which “papers and magazines etc for the lightship crew” were collected around the deck on the way out and transferred by basket. Due back 8.30pm Fare 1/6 (£5.40 today)
Waverley then lay alongside Eastbourne Pier to await the arrival of Brighton Queen or Glan Gower back from Boulogne to return her Hastings passengers.
10.40pm (Brighton Queen or Glen Gower) Single trip to Brighton due about midnight. Fare 2/6 (£8.60 today)
10.40pm (Waverley) Single trip to Hastings due about 11.40pm. Fare 1/6 (£5.40 today)
As you will see, with the exception of the Boulogne trip, the fares are targeted at the cheap and cheerful mass market who in the 1930s still packed the Sussex Coast resorts each season and encouraged them all aboard with very affordable prices.
P & A Campbell’s steamers often spent the night at anchor off Hastings and Brighton but if the weather was not so good then they retreated to Newhaven where they also had to go to take on coal.
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 September 2020.