Winter 1968


Consul – Quite close to the Floating Bridge Hard at Woolston, Southampton lies Consul (ex Duke of Devonshire), now, after a long and varied career, waiting to be scrapped. After spending some time weather-bound in Poole Harbour on her tow from the River Dart, Duke of Devonshire arrived at the breakers yard on October 11th.

PS Ryde at Tower Pier, September 13th.Russell Plummer

Ryde’s great adventure – Even if Gilbeys did turn our old friend into something like a floating advertisement hoarding, they did take her to London and for four days Ryde was able to bask in the sort of limelight she seldom enjoys. On September 12th Ryde did a two hour trip below Greenwich. She was decked out as Gilbey’s Floating Gin Palace. Large signs above the paddle boxes proclaimed this fact and Gilbey’s trademark was emblazoned on the funnel. The forward main deck was used for singing and dancing and the lounge was for Mr Gilbey’s personal guests only. Ryde went ahead into mid river and backed slowly under Tower Bridge. After a few hundred yards the operation of turning round was accomplished with impressive skill. On September 15th she spent two and a half hours going down to Woolwich. Having returned her passengers including a contingent of PSPS London Branch members, to Tower Pier, there was a short farewell between Gilbeys and Ryde’s crew before the steamer left for her winter quarters in Newhaven.

Kingswear Castle – Isle of Wight members have got to work this summer and the ship already shows the benefit of the hours they have put in. Members coming from a distance should be prepared to stay overnight. More than one member has spent a night aboard, although the accommodation is admittedly ‘tourist class’! Caulking and replacement of defective decking is the No. 1 priority as is the improvement and cleansing of the fore-saloon.

Scottish notesQueen Mary II was out of service from 20th to 30th August. During this period Caledonia carried out Queen Mary II’s Glasgow – Round Bute excursion with Waverley doing Caley’s roster. Unfortunately paddle steamers are slower than turbines and ‘Round Bute’ is not a cruise where there is time at any pier. Caledonia left Craigendoran sharp at 0800 for Bridge Wharf and it was 2355 when she returned in the evening – one of the longest days a Clyde steamer has had for some years. A young stewardess fell overboard from Waverley on June 16th. She was emptying a bucket from the after end of the paddle area and forgot to let go! Fortunately she could swim and the steamer was quite close to the shore at Largs. She was able to continue her work after a thorough drying and change of clothing.

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