Chris Collard records in his excellent book “White Funnels Volume 2” that on Thursday 14th October 1920 Lady Evelyn sailed light ship from Cardiff to lay up for the winter at Newport.
Lady Evelyn was built in 1900 for the Furness Railway for their services between Fleetwood, Barrow and Morecambe as part of the connectivity to bring passengers to the Lake District This was a success so in 1910 the railway added the larger and faster Gwalia, which had been built in 1905 for the Barry Railway Company, and renamed her Lady Moyra.
After the war the two were bought in 1919 by W H Tucker & Co and put into service on the Bristol Channel as the “Yellow Funnel Fleet” running in competition with P & A Campbell’s “White Funnel Fleet”. This was not a success with the situation not helped by post war coal shortages and by 1922 the pair had been bought by P & A Campbell at a knock down price and integrated into their fleet.
Lady Evelyn was renamed Brighton Belle and sent south to operate on the Sussex Coast.
Lady Moyra served on the Bristol Channel until 1933 when she was renamed Brighton Queen and sent south also to run on the Sussex Coast.
Both ships met their demise during the Dunkirk evacuation. Brighton Belle ran over a wreck and sank on 27th May 1940. Four days later Brighton Queen was bombed by German aircraft and also sank.
But all that lay twenty years in the future when Lady Evelyn paddled off from Cardiff to Newport to lay up for the winter on Thursday 14th October 1920.
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 14th October 2020.