The paddle steamer Victoria was built for Cosens & Co in 1884. At one time or another she ran on pretty well all their routes but was mostly based at Weymouth and until the 1930s often undertook the now almost wholly forgotten coasting service from Weymouth sailing westwards around Portland Bill and calling at the harbours or exposed beaches at West Bay, Lyme Regis, Seaton and Sidmouth sometimes continuing on to Torquay. On Monday August 16th in 1937 Victoria had started from Weymouth early in the morning and already picked up at West Bay en route for this call at Lyme Regis and then on towards Seaton. “Towards” was a useful term often used by the steamer companies in case the ship was running late and didn’t have time to get all the way!
Later the same season Victoria is scheduled to make a call putting her bow on the beach at Seaton at about 1.45pm on Wednesday September 1 in 1937. At around ten hours duration, the round trip from the starting point at Weymouth was quite a marathon particularly if the weather was poor as Victoria had very limited covered accommodation. The company received some complaints and, as a result, invested in a portable gramophone to try to take the minds of the passengers off their wet and windswept state!
PS Victoria landing passengers over the bow on the beach at Lulworth Cove. She remained with Cosens for her whole career and ran until 1952 after which she was scrapped.
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.