On 28th October 1897 whilst collecting the mail at the Jersey Dock in Southampton to take out to the North German Lloyd ship Trave, Princess Beatrice was rammed by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company’s Atrato on which the pilot had failed to get the astern movement he had rung for on the telegraph.
As a result Atrato ran straight into the Princess Beatrice demolishing the forward part of the ship including the crew accommodation in the fo’c’sle and her lower deck forward saloon as well as knocking a chunk out of the dock wall beyond her before the tugs managed to take charge and pull her off.
You can see in the picture the tremendous quantity of interested spectators who had turned out to gawp at this spectacular accident. Fortunately Princess Beatrice’s bulkheads held up and, despite the considerable damage, she stayed afloat. She was then towed to Day Summers’ shipyard at Northam for repairs.
Princess Beatrice was built in 1880 for the Southampton Isle of Wight and South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Company (later called Red Funnel) and ran on their services from Southampton until 1930. She was scrapped at Northam in 1933.
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 October 2020.