The boiler and engine of Princess Elizabeth have been found in a lockup just outside Basingstoke where they have lain undisturbed for fifty years amongst a treasure trove of other nautical and aeronautical artefacts collected by Iranian billionaire Mr Loof Rilpa.
Princess Elizabeth ran her last trips from Weymouth in September 1965 after which she was laid up in the Backwater. There was an attempt to return her to service running on the Sussex Coast in 1967 but that came to nothing so she was towed away to be scrapped in Southampton where she is pictured above.
There her engine and boiler were removed but before work started on demolishing the rest of the ship she was purchased to become a clubhouse at Hayling Island. That fell through and instead she found further careers in various static roles on the Thames, in Paris and latterly in Dunkirk.
There were rumours back in 1968 that her engine and boiler had been saved but the lips of the scrapyard owner on the subject remained tightly sealed and nobody has ever been able to confirm whether or not this was true until now.
Mr Rilpa senior died in 1993 with his estate passing to his son Mr Asloan Rilpa-Loof who lived abroad and never visited the UK. Now he has died and his heirs have discovered this treasure trove as a tiny part of the assets of the estate.
A spokesman for one of London’s major auction houses, which will sell the contents of this lockup in late June, said “We are delighted to be handling the sale of these remarkable artefacts and expect keen interest in them from around the world.
Published on 1st April, also known as April Fool’s Day, this article upholds that fine British tradition.
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 1st April 2021.