By 1957 the finances of P & A Campbell, paddle steamer operators, were becoming seriously troubled and economies had to be made to stay in business. One time flagship of the fleet, Britannia (pictured above) was withdrawn at the end of the 1956 season.
For 1957 Glen Gower was replaced on her usual South Coast operations from Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings by the smaller Diesel vessel Crested Eagle, chartered from the GSN, and instead replaced the Glen Usk on the Cardiff, Penarth and Weston ferry.
Bristol Queen continued as the principal long distance steamer down Channel from Bristol and Cardiff.
Cardiff Queen was again stationed at Swansea for the roley-poley crossings to Ilfracombe almost broadside on to the prevailing SW wind.
1957 was not a good summer and it was followed by an even worse one in 1958 during which Campbells were forced to call in the Receiver.
For 1959 trips continued but on a reduced scale with flagship Bristol Queen, little more than a decade old, laid up and with Cardiff Queen as the long distance steamer and Glen Usk on the ferry.
Pictures by Keith Abraham.
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.