November 2004:
Brian Waters’ Paddle Steamer Monarch

November 2004:
Brian Waters’ Paddle Steamer Monarch

After Kingswear Castle returned to service in 1985, Brian Waters, one of the key volunteers who had played such an important role in restoring her, decided that he would like to build a new paddle steamer from scratch. He had a hull built. He laid the decks, built a saloon, ordered an engine and boiler, fitted the ship out, got everything working and, by November 2003 the little paddle steamer Monarch (named after two famous Cosens’ paddle steamers) ran trials on the Medway. Brian’s dream had become a reality.

On Tuesday 19th October 2004, Kingswear Castle’s crew joined Brian for an enjoyable trip from Sandwich along the tiny River Stour in Kent where Monarch has been operating short cruises during this summer.

Daniel Smith has a look in the wheelhouse.

Kingswear Castle’s Chief Engineer Chris Smith looks down through the skylight onto Monarch’s engine.

Although Monarch is on the small side, nonetheless she does have the feel of being aboard a real paddle steamer.

The compound reciprocating steam engine.

There is a cosy saloon.

Jean Spells who works part time in the Kingswear Castle office, Jenny Longhurst and PSPS treasurer, Martin Longhurst, take pictures of having their picture taken.

Monarch is a great credit to Brian (pictured at the wheel). Many people love paddle steamers. Many help them in so many ways. Some have the luxury of being able to work aboard them. But almost nobody has a dream to build one and then goes right ahead and does just that. Brian deserves the very highest praise for making Monarch a reality.

And now that she goes, what next? I have a model in my office which Brian made of another new paddler, about Kingswear Castle size, more sea-going and faster. Could this be turned into a reality one day as well?

For more pictures of Monarch and an account of a fiftieth birthday party aboard her have a look at the Simplon Postcards website here.