Wednesday 5th July 1961 was the first day of the season for Swanage Queen, ex Sussex Queen, ex Freshwater based at Poole and running a service between Bournemouth and Swanage five days a week and on Fridays to Yarmouth Isle of Wight.
Her first season in private ownership during the 1960 season running on the Sussex Coast had not been a success so her owner Herbert Jennings thought that he would move her to the Hampshire and Dorset coasts not least because he was aware that Cosens had withdrawn their Monarch after the 1960 season and so perceived there to be a vacancy.
For 1961 her funnel was painted blue instead of white with a black top to distinguish her from Cosens’s buff funnelled Embassy which, in the peak weeks of 1961, ran from Bournemouth to the Isle of Wight five days a week and on the Swanage service on Fridays.
After continuing difficulties with the Board of Trade it was not until the afternoon of Wednesday 5th July that Swanage Queen finally entered service
The following day she had to be withdrawn due to a problem with her condenser which took the rest of the day and the Friday to fix.
She left Poole around 9.45am on Sunday 9th July for Swanage and managed the morning cruise from there at 11am in the direction of St Albans Head when further trouble developed so she returned to Poole cancelling her afternoon runs between Swanage and Bournemouth.
Although the problem was fixed within a few days, it was not a good start and the season proved difficult overall with Croson’s motor launches by then also running in competition with her on the Swanage service and a host of other, and continuing, problems cropping up throughout the season.
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 5th July 2021.