Consul’s crew had Saturdays off in the early part of the 1962 season but in the peak weeks from the middle of July they were rostered to run seven days a week. And there were no relief crews. Capt Iliffe, Chief Officer Arthur Drage and Chief Engineer Cyril Julien did the lot. The only respite came if and when sailings were cancelled due to the weather. And it was not just wind but also the rain which stopped Cosens’s paddle steamer trips from Weymouth. The management took the view that people wouldn’t want to take a paddle steamer ride when it was wet which was just as well as Consul had very limited undercover accommodation in relation to her passenger capacity.
However Saturday was change over day and therefore at Weymouth the least busy in the week so as you can see on Saturday July 28th Consul was rostered for just two trips in the afternoon including the ubiquitous 2pm one hour “Cruise Round HM Ships and Merchant Shipping in Portland Harbour” and at 3pm a “Cruise across Weymouth Bay, towards Osmington, Ringstead and Lulworth Cove thence to Portland Harbour viewing HM Ships and merchant shipping due back 4.45pm”. A nice easy-ozy sort of day.
The following day Sunday 29th ended with a “Special Evening Jazz Cruise”. I could see the Consul on her trips round Portland Harbour from my bedroom window which looked out onto Portland Harbour but these Jazz Cruises were always a special excitement as she came in much closer to the shore by Sandsfoot Castle so I could see her better without the need for my telescope. And she came so close that I could hear the jazz band playing as she went by. Sammy Pearce and his Jazzmen played on deck and had a piano which that season was usually kept on deck all the time under a green piano shaped tarpaulin. How often it needed tuning in these less than ideal atmospheric conditions I don’t know.
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 28th July 2023.