On the afternoon of Wednesday 8th March 1961 the bell from Cosens’s first Monarch, built in 1888, was presented by Charles Kaile, a director and former general manager of Cosens, to the PSPS. It was accepted on behalf of the society by Captain Louis Thomas, who had often sailed on the ship as a boy, on the deck of Embassy laid up for the winter outside their workshop in the Weymouth Backwater.
The press report states that the bell “will be used at the society’s meetings to call members to order.”
Get out your magnifying glass and you will see the bell in its original position at the aft end of the Monarch’s fo’c’stle just above clanging height and so mounted suitably high and so out of reach of inquisitive children.
Others in the group who attended that afternoon to witness the presentation are from left to right: my Dad Winston Megoran, R E West, Sidney Davis (Company Secretary of Cosens), ?, Charles Kaile, Capt Thomas (Chairman of the Wessex Branch), Mrs Stephanie McGurk (daughter of Capt Thomas), Peter Ellis, Donald Jones, Victor Gray and Russell Horwood.
It was a nice gesture from Cosens following close on the heels of the campaigning the PSPS had undertaken in the previous January to try to save the second Monarch. In the end the PSPS had not been able to save the ship but stretching out the hand of friendship Cosens had given us the bell of her predecessor. This now resides in the PSPS collection.
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 8th March 2021.