With the PSPS trying hard to lobby to save the Monarch, on Saturday 28th January 1961 the Bournemouth Echo published two more letters from enthusiasts in support of the Bournemouth/Swanage service and Monarch.
Most intriguing is the idea of bringing the Clyde paddle steamer Jupiter to Bournemouth. As Mr Allen says she was available and was oil fired. What he doesn’t say is that at 642 GRT she was 50% bigger than Monarch. She had only just been converted to oil firing and the necessary kit had seen only one season of service and that a short one after which no further use could be found for her. Sadly business on the Clyde for excursion paddle steamers was as much on the wane as it was at Bournemouth.
It is easy to blame the operators for perceived failings but the truth is that the times were a changing as other opportunities arose for intending passengers and other excitements beckoned. Foreign holidays, car ownership, and with that independence of travel, all came within the reach of the many. People looked for other things to do with their time, took their pleasures elsewhere and increasingly stayed away.
So all credit to the fledgling PSPS for doing its little bit to try and stir up interest and make a case for retaining paddle steamers in general and Monarch in particular. In January 1961 my nine year old self watched all this pan out at first hand and with my Dad was proud to be associated with such a campaigning group with a shared interest in the preservation of paddle steamers.
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 January 2021.