On Wednesday 20th June 1962 Consul (ex Duke of Devonshire) was scheduled to leave Weymouth at 10am for a day trip to Swanage and Bournemouth due back at 8.15pm under the command of Capt John Iliffe.
The Board of Trade had given Consul a hard time the previous winter. She had sprung a small leak after coming off the slipway so had had to go back up again to have it fixed. This led Board of Trade surveyor Len Mutton to demand that all the cement wash in her bilges should be removed during the following winter survey to enable a closer examination of the hull. He also proposed restricting Consul’s Passenger Certificates to just Weymouth Bay for the 1962 season enabling her to run from Weymouth only within an area bounded by Portland Bill and Lulworth Cove.
Cosens had a large group booking in the diary for her to run an afternoon trip from Bournemouth on 20th June in connection with a conference so Mr Mutton gave an exemption for this to go ahead as a one off. No other sailings to Swanage and Bournemouth were advertised for Consul in 1962.
In the end the trip to Swanage and Bournemouth didn’t take place. Wednesday 20th June 1962 dawned with heavy rain and strong winds so the Consul’s sailing was cancelled and she remained tied up at her berth alongside Trinity Wharf all day.
That makes the last occasions when Consul was scheduled to sail for Cosens on trips outside Weymouth Bay as Thursday 31st August 1961 when she was rostered for Swanage and Bournemouth and Friday 1st September when she was programmed for Swanage and Totland Bay, Isle of Wight.
Consul had two more operational seasons to go in private ownership of a company set up by Tony McGinnity, a founder member of the PSPS and Mrs Eileen Pritchard, PSPS member number 1. But that is another long and not altogether happy story for another day.
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.