On Thursday 22nd April 1920 Cosens’s paddle steamer Queen was sold to the Ardrossan Harbour Board.
She had been built new for Cosens in 1883 with the hull constructed in Rotterdam and her two independent grasshopper style engines and boiler built in Hull. She was a useful addition to their fleet in that not only was she a tug suitable for harbour towage and coastal salvage work but also she had local Passenger Certificates which, given her small size, made her very economical to run on short excursions from Weymouth to Portland, round Portland Harbour, to Lulworth Cove and so on. With the military build up from the 1880s on up to the First World war she was also very useful as a people mover between the vast number of warships often anchored in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour and the shore.
Come 1920 she was almost forty years old. The market for towage was in steep decline as sailing ships were on the wane and those that remained started to be fitted with auxiliary engines. And the transport of matelots to and from their ships was gone as peace broke out and the once feverish activity of the Royal Navy declined in the aftermath of war.
Queen’s career in Ardrossan was short lived. She ran for her new owners for only two seasons and was broken up at South Shields in 1923.
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 22nd April 2021.