14th September 2023:
Waverley to Lulworth Cove

14th September 2023:
Waverley to Lulworth Cove
Waverley arriving at Swanage Pier on the first Sunday in September 2023.

Waverley is scheduled to sail along the Dorset Coast viewing Anvil Point, St Albans Head, Chapman’s Pool, Worbarrow Bay and on towards Lulworth Cove leaving Swanage at 13.40 back 16.40 on Thursday 14th and Sunday 17th September. In this she follows in the wake of Cosens’s Consul and Embassy.

Embassy pictured in 1947.

In the early years after the Second World War, Embassy was rostered once or twice a week for a “Grand Channel Cruise along the beautiful Dorset Coast towards Lulworth Cove” leaving Bournemouth at 2.30pm due back 6pm and Swanage at 3.15pm due back 5.15pm.

Embassy entering Lulworth Cove 1953.

Embassy did not have a gate cut in her bulwark on the foredeck to accept the Lulworth landing gear so never put her bow on the beach there but she did sometimes go right inside the Cove on these cruises to give her passengers a better view. In this picture you can see that she has come right into the Cove and from the wash from the paddle wheels you can also see that Captain Cook has just rung full astern to stop her in readiness to back her out again. This was a tricky manoeuvre in that he would not have wanted to stop her with any sort of swing on the stern sending it one way or the other which you would want when berthing a paddle steamer. She had to be stopped straight with the stern pointing in just the right direction to get out of the Cove once again. In fairness Embassy was fitted with a bow rudder so once sternway was gained as she picked up speed then she steered as well astern as ahead. The wheel for the bow rudder was in the bow and the captain communicated with the bow rudder helmsman with hand signals from the bridge

Emperor of India alongside Bournemouth Pier.

The sale of Emperor of India after the 1956 season in the aftermath of the Suez Crisis left just Monarch and Embassy running from Bournemouth with occasional visits by Consul from Weymouth. One started her season at the beginning of June and ended around the end of the first week in September. The other started at the beginning of July and ended around the end of September. In the peak weeks Monarch was rostered for the Bournemouth/Swanage service and Embassy for the double run morning and afternoon from Bournemouth to either Totland Bay or Yarmouth. So with no steamer available to run them these “Grand Channel Cruises towards Lulworth Cove” passed into history.

Consul at Lulworth Cove.

Consul was the last paddle steamer to carry passengers from Swanage to land at Lulworth Cove which she did generally speaking once a week or once a fortnight during the 1950s . For this she came up from Weymouth to Swanage with passengers and then collected those brought from Bournemouth to Swanage at 11.30am by Embassy or Monarch to take them on to Lulworth Cove to land for about an hour 2pm – 3pm. I believe that the last occasion on which Consul was scheduled to do that was Tuesday August 30th 1960. That day Consul was under the command of Captain J C W Iliffe and Monarch’s master was Captain H F Defrates.

Swanage Queen and Embassy alongside Bournemouth Pier 1961.

In her ill-starred season running from Bournemouth and Swanage in 1961 Swanage Queen ex Sussex Queen ex Freshwater revived the occasional short cruise from Swanage towards St Albans Head.

Embassy alongside Swanage Pier in 1958 under the command of Captain Rawle.

And for the first two Sundays of the 1963 season on June 2nd and 9th Embassy unusually offered afternoon cruises from Swanage at 3.15pm due back 4.45pm “Along the Coast”. But that was it. After that and until the end of her last season in 1966 whenever Embassy was rostered for the Swanage service she returned from Swanage to Bournemouth at 3.15pm to put in another round trip rather than sailing off towards St Albans Head.

Embassy was therefore the last paddle steamer to schedule a passenger carrying cruise from Swanage westwards along the Dorset Coast before the arrival of Waverley and that was on Sunday 9th June 1963 a whopping sixty years ago.

For Waverley’s South Coast schedule click here.

For Waverley’s Thames schedule click here.

For Waverley’s last trips of the season on the Clyde click here.

To take a look at how they did it in 1953 click here.

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.

John Megoran

John Megoran