4th & 5th Sept 1953 Consul, Empress and Embassy

On Friday 4th and Saturday 5th September 1953 both Consul and Empress (pictured above in Lulworth Cove) would have started their days at their up river berths at Weymouth close to the Town Bridge as usual. They would then have backed down the harbour to the Pleasure Pier to be ready to load their passengers about half an hour before they were first due to leave.

Scheduled to be first away from Weymouth at 9.30am on the Friday was Consul for a day trip to Swanage and Totland Bay, Isle of Wight, due back in Weymouth at 8.15pm.

Meanwhile Embassy was scheduled to leave Bournemouth Pier at 10.45 for a "Coasting trip to Lulworth Cove" giving about an hour and a half ashore. Embassy did not have a gate cut into her forward bulwark on the port side as did Consul and Empress and could therefore not accept the Lulworth Cove beach landing gear. So the schedule was arranged for both Consul and Embassy to arrive at Swanage pier, the one from Weymouth and the other from Bournemouth, at around the same time at 11.30am. Consul's Isle of Wight passengers then changed to the Embassy and Embassy's Lulworth Cove passengers transferred to Consul which retraced her course back along the Dorset Coast to land them in the Cove. It was a neat arrangement so long as everything slotted into place.

Back at Weymouth, Empress was scheduled for two round trips from Weymouth to Lulworth Cove herself, the first at 10.30am and the second at 3pm with a one hour "Cruise Round Warships and Merchant Shipping in Portland Harbour" slotted in between with a departure from Weymouth timed for 1.45pm. So on this day two different paddle steamers visited Lulworth Cove to land and pick up passengers with Empress from Weymouth there briefly at 11.30am and then between 4pm and 5pm and Consul from Swanage there from about 2pm to 3.30pm.

On Saturday 5th September 1953 the steamer notice does not spell out which of the two paddle steamers took which of the trips but it is most likely that the 1.45pm, 2.45pm and 3.45pm "Visits aboard one of H M Ships" would have been taken by Consul because she had the larger passenger capacity leaving the Empress to take the 3pm afternoon Cruise to Lulworth Cove.

Warships in those days sometimes had bits and bobs sticking out from their sides, so to avoid the possibility of these catching on her stays when berthing alongside them, Consul often sailed with her mast down (it was fitted in a tabernacle on the foredeck to facilitate this) for these visiting warships trips as is shown in the picture of her above.

For more about Embassy and Lulworth Cove see: http://kingswearcastle.co.uk/EmbassyLC.htm

John Megoran

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