On Wednesday 18th December 1957 Bournemouth Queen was towed away from Southampton for the scrapyard in Ghent.
She was built in 1908 for what became Red Funnel as a replacement for their newly built Princess Royal of 1906 which had failed to come up to her design criteria. The latter was sold on to Cosens and became their Emperor of India so the two ships ended up working alongside each other at Bournemouth, one for Red Funnel and the other for Cosens, both generally taking the longer trips from that resort for much of their careers. The ship which didn’t live up to expectations and the one which did often leaving Bournemouth Pier around 10am for trips around the Isle of Wight, to Yarmouth, Ryde and Southsea, to Yarmouth, Cowes and/or Southampton and/or to Weymouth.
Bournemouth Queen served as a minesweeper in the First World war and as an anti-aircraft ship in the Second.
After that she was given a pretty major rebuild from which she emerged looking rather different. However, the extra weight added did not help her stability and in her later years she was ever prone to take a list.
She returned to operate from Bournemouth in 1947 and came back each summer up to and including 1950 after which Red Funnel withdrew from that arena.
In 1951 she was based at Southampton and undertook a number of cruises to sea down the east coast of the Isle of Wight as well as inaugurating a new and short-lived service from Southampton to the newly opened Totland Bay Pier. From 1952 she lost her sea-going Class III Board of Trade Passenger Certificate and spent the remainder of her career sailing only on Southampton Water and in the Solent being much associated with the Southampton, Ryde and Southsea triangle.
When she was towed away on 18th December 1957 she had spent a career of almost fifty years in the ownership of just the one company.
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 18th December 2020.