5th June 1960 Sussex Queen

Sussex Queen at Topsham

On Whit Sunday June 5th 1960 Sussex Queen was scheduled to start her first season on the Sussex Coast. Steamer notices had been produced and distributed. Hopes were high and enthusiasm and excitement in great abundance at the prospect of this revival of paddle steamer trips from Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings for the first time since 1956 when Glen Gower had sailed away never to return.

Sussex Queen's steamer notice for Eastbourne June 1960.

On this first day Sussex Queen was rostered to come up from her overnight berth at Newhaven to offer a Channel Cruise from Brighton at 10am followed at 11.45am by a run along the coast round Beachy Head to Eastbourne. She was scheduled to leave there at 2.15pm for Hastings from where she offered a One Hour Channel Cruise at 3.30pm before retracing her path with a scheduled arrival time back at Newhaven closing her day at 8.45pm.

As it turned out, none of these trips ever happened. On Whit Sunday June 5th 1960 Sussex Queen was still tied up at Topsham on the River Exe locked in strife with the Board of Trade. She set off for Newhaven under the command of Capt Kane several days later having to put into Poole on Thursday 9th June due to the weather and to take on more coal. She did not arrive in Newhaven until 6pm on Friday 10th June where more difficulties unfolded with a super picky Board of Trade.

In the end it was not until Thursday 30th June that Sussex Queen made her first public sailing on the Sussex Coast running a cruise around the Royal Sovereign Lightship from Eastbourne, a different schedule from that originally advertised.

John Megoran

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