On Tuesday 26th October 1965 Jeanie Deans was up on the slipway at Lamont’s Shipyard at Port Glasgow with work continuing to prepare her for the voyage south to the Medway for her new owner Don Rose and his Coastal Steam Packet Company Ltd.
Don had been persuaded by Tony McGinnity to buy Jeanie Deans on the basis that she was structurally sound. He had spoken regularly with Captain Stanley Woods, master of the paddle steamer Princess Elizabeth based at Weymouth, during that summer to take his advice.
On the Lizzie’s last movement at Weymouth that season from the Pleasure Pier at 4.30pm up the harbour and through the Town Bridge to lay up in the Backwater on Thursday 23rd September Captain Woods told me that he was off to Glasgow the following week to take command and that he would keep me posted.
Jeanie Deans had been slipped at the tail end of the week ending 2nd October. She was due off the slipway later this week with a view to setting off south at some stage in the week commencing Monday 1st November.
Captain Woods was as good as his world. He wrote updating me on progress. He told me that he had recruited two Weymouth based seamen from the Lizzie, Ken Moore and Alfie Le Page to join him. And he asked me if I would like to come along too. Would I?
That was such an excitement for me. It fitted in with my half term holiday from Weymouth Grammar School. So I pleaded with my parents to let me go.
To be continued.
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 26th October 2020.