This picture, provided by Peter Ford, was taken of Victoria in the Southampton scrapyard on Sunday 1st February 1953, just over a week after her arrival under her own steam from Weymouth under the command of Captain Moore.
As you can see the breakers haven’t wasted any time in starting her demolition and she is already without her funnel, bridge and handrails. A sad sight to see.
The Dorset Echo recorded Victoria’s arrival in the scrapyard.
Victoria in happier times waiting to load passengers at Weymouth.
Built for Cosens in 1884 with an oscillating steam engine (just like those still found on most of the Dresden paddle steamers today) and a coal fired boiler, Victoria was still running long distance trips from Weymouth to Swanage and Bournemouth (round trip 56 nautical miles) and to Swanage and Totland Bay, Isle of Wight (round trip 74 nautical miles) right up to 1952, her last season in service.
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 February 2021.