On Good Friday 7th April 1950 Consul opened the Bournemouth season.
Starting at Easter at Bournemouth and Swanage was ever tricky financially. The weather might be good. The weather might not be good. And if it was not good then money was being thrown down the drain providing a steamer which earned little or no revenue and was then faced with some weeks of inactivity after that as business fell away completely between Easter until Whitsun. And if Easter was early then that could leave a gap of as much as six weeks of zilch revenue for a steamer all manned up and ready to go.
After the war Cosens provided no steamers at Bournemouth for Easter in 1946 and in 1947. In 1948 they brought out Embassy which turned out to be a complete waste of time as the wind blew and it was not until Easter Monday that she could make any trips at all. In 1949 Red Funnel fielded their Bournemouth Queen. Then in 1950 it was the turn of Consul to try her luck. Newly rebuilt and returned to service in 1949 she was smaller than either Bournemouth Queen or Embassy and therefore more economical to run and so a better choice for this hit and miss sort of early season market.
Consul returned to do the same in 1951 but Easter was early. She duly left Weymouth at 8am on Good Friday 23rd March and arrived at Bournemouth at 10.20am under the command of Captain Cook who, according to Victor Gray who was on the pier watching that day, was swaddled in an Admiralty style fawn duffle coat to protect him from the cold. She picked up 40 passengers for her advertised morning cruise to Durlston Head. Then the early season weather turned against her. There were even some flurries of snow and in this short period, when hopefully some revenue might have been packed away in the bank, Consul spent five consecutive days lying idle alongside Poole Quay going nowhere and earning nothing.
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 7th April 2021.