Russell – take a bow! – This is the 127th issue of Paddle Wheels and Russell has edited 93 of them. He has cheerfully undertaken this often thankless job which carries no financial reward for 25 years apart from a short break. His first edition was issue 27, hand-typed and reproduced on a duplicator. Thank you, Russell. Take a bow. Our new Editor is Myra Allen. Our thanks to Myra for taking on this job, and our best wishes for the next 25 years!
Captains’ Club – First, some exciting news about Captain’s Club cruises for 1992. This year there will be cruises on the Clyde, Bristol Channel, Solent, Medway and Thames. Once again, you will be given star treatment on the cruises, with visits to the bridge and engine-room. This year you will be able to travel on these cruises FREE, and you can bring one adult along at a special fare. Congratulations to the winners of the 1991 painting and photographic competitions. They have now received their prizes – £20 cruising vouchers. Details of the 1992 competitions will be in the Summer issue.
New propellers for Balmoral – Bruntons Ltd. of Sudbury, Suffolk have delivered two new Superston four bladed, 1680mm diameter propellers to Bristol, ready for fitting when Balmoral dry docks in March. They are the first ever designed for a coastal passenger ship to incorporate the latest refinements in design to achieve more silent and vibration free running. Much interest will be generated in Balmoral’s speed in service this season.
KC heard but not seen – A large crowd gathered on Strood Pier unable to see even the middle of the river, let alone the other side! Visibility was down to just a few yards, but our hopes were raised when we heard the sound of KC’s steam whistle repeated at regular intervals, and eventually we heard the paddle wheels. Then emerging from the thick fog we saw KC’s bow and then the whole ship as she berthed alongside. Once the passengers were aboard, hot punch and mince pies were served. Captain John Megoran announced that we would be unable to sail until the fog thinned. A buffet lunch was served with KC still alongside. Just as we were giving up hope of a cruise, the sun broke through and we cast off. Half way past St. Mary’s Island we ran into dense fog again. After a while KC turned back up river and into the sunshine arriving back at Strood at 4pm.
Work on Ryde’s hull – Thanks to the initiative of Society members work has been carried out for the first time in over two decades. Areas of new plating were completed and part of the lower deck forward has been lifted to enable a badly corroded hull plate to be removed.
Medway Queen report – With MQ having been afloat for a couple of months, the pumping roster has been stopped. Looking her best at the last open day, work in the engine room meant that this area looked better than ever. Many visitors commented that they had never really expected to set foot on a floating Medway Queen ever again!
Waverley winter activity – included lifting the port paddle wheel by some 6 inches while the cradle which supports it was removed for attention, main engine crankshaft main bearings all being re-metalled, and the water box for the condenser is replaced.
And 50 years ago… Eagle Steamers to abandon operations; Embassy and Cardiff Queen offered for sale; AGM approval to proposal to go ahead with KC’s preservation; Winter cruising still possible by coal fired Humber ferries. Read more…