Whit Monday June 6th 1960 was scheduled to be the Sussex Queen’s second operating day of her first season sailing on the Sussex Coast. Steamer notices had been produced and distributed. Hopes were high and enthusiasm and excitement in great abundance at the prospect of this revival of paddle steamer trips from Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings for the first time since 1956 when Glen Gower had sailed away never to return.
On the previous day she had been rostered to come up from her overnight berth at Newhaven to offer a Channel Cruise from Brighton at 10am followed at 11.45am by a run along the coast round Beachy Head to Eastbourne. She was scheduled to leave there at 2.15pm for Hastings from where she offered a One Hour Channel Cruise at 3.30pm before retracing her path with a scheduled arrival time back at Newhaven closing her day at 8.45pm.
As it turned out, none of these trips ever happened. On Whit Sunday June 5th 1960 Sussex Queen was still tied up at Topsham on the River Exe locked in strife with the Board of Trade. She set off for Newhaven under the command of Capt Kane several days later having to put into Poole on Thursday 9th June due to the weather and to take on more coal. She did not arrive in Newhaven until 6pm on Friday 10th June where more difficulties unfolded with a super picky Board of Trade.
In the end it was not until Thursday 30th June that Sussex Queen made her first public sailing on the Sussex Coast running a cruise around the Royal Sovereign Lightship from Eastbourne, a different schedule from that originally advertised.
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 6th June 2021.