Consul was the last of Cosens’s paddle steamers to be returned to service after the Second World War. Indeed given the state of her structure there was some doubt as to whether or not to rebuild her at all with thoughts even having turned to ordering a new hull and putting her engine and boiler in that.
However after Emperor of India had been returned to service in 1948 attention was paid to Consul. She was stripped back to nothing and built up again complete with new decks, new deck houses and bridge and her boiler converted to oil firing with induced draught produced by a small steam engine powering a fan in a casing mounted at the base of the funnel on the port side.
By the week commencing Monday 9th May Consul was all ready and open to the public to show what had been done. On Thursday May 12th she ran the afternoon cruise leaving Weymouth at 3pm to give about one hour ashore at Lulworth Cove back by 6pm.
At that time, and on through much of the 1950s, an arrangement was made with the Navy for a warship to be available most weekends for visits aboard for which Cosens ran a steamer from Weymouth. As you can see from this 1949 steamer notice trips were advertised on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th May for “Visits Aboard one of HM Ships” leaving the Weymouth Pleasure Pier on Consul at 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm and 4.30pm. It helped to fly the flag, encouraged in interest in the Navy amongst the wider public and doubtless pleased some of the jolly jack tars who were thus so able to show female and other company their pride and joy and maybe strike up friendships along the way.
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 12th May 2021.