As the 1950s wore on and cars for wide spread personal use were on the up, it became clear that the winds of change would blow the Clyde paddle steamers away and have them replaced by purpose built roll-on/roll-off ferries. The Arran, Bute and Cowal of 1954 were the first such built for Clyde services and they were followed by the larger and more commodious Glen Sannox three years later in 1957.
Pictured here at Oban later in her career, the Glen Sannox was specifically designed for all the Clyde routes as well as the more open sea crossing to Arran beyond categorised waters and throughout the year.
Built in 1937 Jupiter had been a mainstay of the Gourock and Wemyss Bay ferry routes during her peacetime career until the arrival of the three ABC ferries in 1954 relegated her to back up work, including sometimes to Arran, and a new role taking more summer excursions than had hitherto been the case including a Sunday special from Glasgow to Lochgoilhead in 1956.
Along with the Jeanie Deans and the Waverley, Jupiter was converted to burn oil fuel in time for the 1957 season but in this the Caledonian Steam Packet may have been rather too hasty as they got only one season of work out of her running with this major investment newly installed. For the following summer of 1958 management felt that retaining her in service alongside the new Glen Sannox could no longer be justified so she was not commissioned and remained tied up in the Albert Harbour at Greenock instead.
With all this brand new kit and associated fire-proofing pristine and new in place, there were hopes that the Jupiter might find a role elsewhere. Rumours circulated that she might just possibly replace the coal-fired Whippingham at Portsmouth. Cosens of Weymouth were said to have a vague interest in buying her but nothing came of this either and so she was eventually towed away to be scrapped in Dublin in April 1961.
As built Jupiter had an open bridge forrard of the comfortable captain’s cabin.
Jupiter’s first master was Capt Peter McGlashan pictured on her bridge in 1937.
Her last master in 1957, twenty years later, was Capt Hector McKenzie.
Jupiter had a mere twenty years of operational life. That is like scrapping a paddle steamer today which was built as recently as 1998.
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.