17th January 1961:

17th January 1961:
Monarch at Weymouth. Cosens’s office at 10, Custom House Quay is the building on the left with the white lettering on a black background.

In their edition for Tuesday 17th January 1961 the Dorset Evening Echo reported that Cosens’s paddle steamer Monarch would not sail again for the company and was now up for sale.

Dorset Evening Echo cutting, 17th January 1961.

Having sold their Emperor of India after the 1956 season Cosens fielded just two paddle steamers at Bournemouth. Their report following the 1957 season to their AGM stated:

The Works Department and Cold Store had another satisfactory year and it is particularly pleasing to record that in spite of bad weather the steamer services contributed to the Trading Profit. This was primarily due to the decision to operate two ships only at Bournemouth, namely Monarch and Embassy and to restrict the services to the peak holiday months.

That is to say in a declining market two ships could cope with the available traffic. That way they made savings on not having the expense of maintaining, refitting and operating a third ship. And by only running when the business was still brisk in the peak weeks they cut out the costs of running the steamers when the business was not brisk and sufficient to justify the expense of operating them.

Their report following the 1958 season stated:

Although the Works Department and Cold Store had another satisfactory year and produced reasonable profits, the Company’s steamer services were once again adversely affected by the exceptionally bad weather conditions experienced during the summer months. This unfortunately resulted in less profit being earned on the teamers and contributed to the reduction of £5,398 5s 6d (£127K today) in the overall trading profit.

Their report for the 1959 season stated:

Although the weather during the 1959 season was good and carryings by our steamer services increased, the higher revenue was largely off-set by heavier repair/maintenance costs due to the incidence of load-line surveys. The Works Department and Cold Store had a satisfactory year and produced reasonable profits.

So the Works Department and the Cold Store continued to work well and turn in a profit year on year. That was not the case for the steamer services so in reviewing the 1960 season the Board decided that there was insufficient business now to sustain two paddle steamers at Bournemouth so one of them had to go. Although Monarch was the younger of the two she was still coal fired which brought with it its own logistical problems and she had not had a major rebuild after the Second World war so was not as well appointed as Embassy.

So it was Monarch which was put up for sale.

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.

John Megoran

John Megoran

This article was first published on 17th January 2021.