Thursday 29th August 1957 was the last day in service of Red Funnel’s paddle steamer Bournemouth Queen.
Built in 1908 as a slightly smaller and not quite as fast, version of Red Funnel’s Cross Channel flyer Balmoral, Bournemouth Queen spent most of her career as the company’s number one paddle steamer at Bournemouth. In 1949 she was moved to the Swanage service on the arrival of the second hand Lorna Doone and ended her association at Bournemouth in September 1950 with an earlier than expected departure following a polio epidemic on the Isle of Wight.
After that Bournemouth Queen lost her BOT Class III Passenger Certificate for sea-going work and spent her remaining career sailing entirely on Categorised Waters within the Solent. In 1951 she opened a service to the newly re-opened Totland Bay Pier but that proved to be not a financial money spinner so from 1952 to 1957 she ran mainly on sailings connecting Southampton, Ryde and Southsea.
Her last trip on Thursday 29th August 1957 left Southampton at 10.30am for Ryde returning at 5.45pm. Nothing was made in the steamer notice of the fact that this sailing was being taken by a paddle steamer. Indeed you wouldn’t have known from the company’s publicity that they still owned and operated two paddle steamers including Princess Elizabeth. She spent much of the 1950s as relief boat on the Cowes ferry and in 1958 took over Bournemouth Queen’s roster but only for that season after which she too was withdrawn.
Bournemouth Queen was towed away to be scrapped in Ghent in December 1957.
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 29th August 2020.