Cosens’s paddle steamer Embassy did not have the necessary gate cut into her bulwark near the port bow, like Consul, Victoria, Empress and Premier, to accept the shore based landing gear at Lulworth Cove. However she did venture into the Cove from time to time on cruises which were advertised as “Lulworth Cove, Grand Channel Cruise along the beautiful Dorset Coast”. In 1953, when this picture was taken, these trips were put into the schedule for Sunday afternoons from 21st June through to 6th September leaving Bournemouth Pier at 2.15pm back about 6.45pm with a steaming time of slightly over two hours each way. Look closely at this picture and you will see that Capt Cook has just rung “full astern”. You can just make out the wash starting to move out ahead of the port paddle box as Embassy stops ready to back out again.
However if you study the Bournemouth steamer notices closely you will see that Embassy was rostered to take passengers to land at Lulworth Cove on Fridays in 1953 from 17th July through to 4th September. These trips were scheduled to leave Bournemouth Pier at 10.45 (in later weeks changed to 11am) and proceed to Swanage where passengers were transferred to Consul which had come up from Weymouth. Consul then took them on to Lulworth for about an hour and a half ashore whilst Embassy collected up Consul’s passengers to take them on to Totland Bay, Isle of Wight.
It was a convenient arrangement but the change of ship had its drawbacks. Consul was a little smaller than Embassy so some of those who had found themselves a nice seat with a nice view on the Embassy from Bournemouth may have found themselves with perhaps a less nice seat with a less nice view, or perhaps no seat at all, on Consul from Swanage. There may have been others for whom the change of ship had not registered and so ended up going to Totland Bay by mistake when they had hoped for Lulworth Cove. In any case from Friday 7th August the change of ship was prominently advertised in the steamer notices with the addition of the declaration “Note Passengers Change at Swanage Inwards and Outwards”.
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.