14th July 1962 Whippingham

Whippingham returned to Portsmouth from dry-docking at Southampton (during which she had had a couple of hull plates renewed and her previously varnished wheelhouse was painted white) on Wednesday 11th July 1962 in readiness to start her summer season on Saturday 14th July running between Portsmouth and Ryde to help shift holiday makers coming to and going from the Isle of Wight on Saturdays which were then still potentially high volume change over days.

Whippingham alongside Portsmouth Harbour Station in 1962.

Whippingham's only sailings in 1962 were on just eight Saturdays between 14th July and 1st September on a roster which included departures from Portsmouth at 10.45am, 12.45pm, 2.45pm and sometimes at 4.45pm with the corresponding returns from Ryde.

Running on such a small number of days may look rather uneconomic but in fact her large  capacity of over 1,000 passengers had helped to clear the crowds on summer Saturdays throughout the 1950s and could pack in a significant revenue for her when the going was good. When she was full for three round trips each Saturday then that would have been over 3,000 passengers each way, 4,000 with the 4.45pm sailing added. Today's Wightlink period return fare from Portsmouth to Ryde is £29 so in today's money that would be a potential revenue of up to £87K a day or almost three quarters of a million pounds for just 8 days running. Not a bad income for running a paddle steamer for not a lot of work.

However by the early 1960s the crowds wanting to travel for a holiday on the Isle of Wight were on the wane and so 1962 turned out to be Whippingham's last season in service. Her big capacity was no longer needed so she was towed away from Portsmouth to be scrapped in Ghent in May 1963.

John Megoran

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