On Monday 20th June 1955 Glen Gower set off from Cardiff (9.45am) for Penarth (9.55am), Barry (10.35am) and Ilfracombe (2pm), where she picked up connections from Bristol (8.45am), Clevedon (9.45am), Swansea (10.30am), and Weston (10.30am), before setting off down the north coast of Devon and Cornwall to round Land’s End and then sail on up the English Channel for Brighton where she was due to arrive at about 5pm the following day.
A variety of round trip fare options were available with that from, and return to, Swansea via Brighton and London coming in at 103/2d (£140 today) first class and 85/5d (£115 today) second class. So this wasn’t a cheap paddle steamer trip and there was no overnight accommodation aboard
Glen Gower made her first cross Channel trip on Thursday 23rd June leaving Newhaven at 9.15am and Eastbourne at 11am for Boulogne with the ship sold out. 1955 was the first year that no passport trips were once again permitted after the Second World War so there was much cause for cheering about that. And the peak weeks that year provided some exceptionally fine weather. Where 1954 was not great and 1956 truly dreadful with endless wind and rain, the sun shone with relentless fervour on paddle steamer operations in the UK during the summer of 1955 to the benefit of operators nationwide.
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 20th June 2021.