28th March 1948 was Easter Sunday and Cosens’s Embassy was ready to start her season. However it was not a nice day with wind and general murk so she stayed tied up alongside the quay at Poole.
On the following day, Easter Monday 29th March she managed to make her first trips of the season from Bournemouth but as you can see in the picture above the weather was still against her. Look at the white caps whipped up on top of the waves by the fresh to strong SW breeze.
The Class III sea-going Board of Trade Passenger Certificates were valid from 1st April to 31st October but if Easter fell earlier than that there was a general dispensation that they were valid from Easter.
Bringing a paddle steamer out for Easter is however a marginal activity particularly if Easter is early. After that weekend the business fell away completely and did not pick up again until Whitsun in May. So where Cosens or Red Funnel had crewed up a steamer for Easter then to justify the expense what she earned in that weekend needed to be sufficient to pay the wages of the crew for the next four to six weeks of inactivity or they needed to find other work for them maybe helping with the refits of other vessels in the fleet.
Easter sailings from Bournemouth were provided by Bournemouth Queen in 1949 and by Consul in 1950 and 1951 which was a poor Easter with many cancellations due to the weather. After that Cosens decided not to bring out a paddle steamer at Bournemouth for Easter in 1952. However local interests lobbied for a change of heart and in the end Red Funnel’s Princess Elizabeth was sent down instead for the long weekend. She was already in steam and fully manned for her role as stand by steamer on the Southampton/Cowes ferry service.
As it turned out 1952 was the last Easter during which you could have enjoyed a paddle steamer ride from Bournemouth. The option of bringing down the Princess Elizabeth was no longer there the following year as by then she had lost her sea-going Class III Passenger Certificate and was restricted to sailing only within the Solent and Southampton Water. After that the Bournemouth season started later in mid May and in the 1960s not until early June. There just wasn’t the business earlier to justify the expense of bringing a steamer out as the market for such things continued to decline as the 1950s and 1960s wore on.
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 March 2021.