London & Home Counties Branch – The third weekend of Waverley’s Spring 1994 sailings needed some splitting of forces, when the Branch also fulfilled its annual engagement at the two-day National Models Rally at Sandown Park Racecourse. The emphasis here is on distributing national timetables. Interestingly there is usually strong representation from the South Wales and West Country modelling fraternities, and we have frequent requests for the Bristol Channel timetable. One of the model steam components trade stands featured a partially-completed live steam model of Waverley. Could PSPS advise on some details of the wheels? Well we can do better than that, and a scaled drawing of prototype wheels was in the modeller’s hands on the second morning of the show.
A new venue for the Branch display stand Whitstable Harbour open day on 11th June, ideally timed a few weeks before Balmoral’s sailings at the end of the month, and with an impressionable audience, because most people who turn up for a harbour open day might be expected to have some interest in ships. The stand was also out, promoting the Medway interest, at the Rainham Festival of Transport on 9th June.
Many thanks to members who are continuing to donate material to us for resale in aid of the Society’s fund-raising efforts. As a result of one generous donation we now have a large collection of “Sea Breezes” from the late 1960s to the middle 1980s, mostly complete years. This will swell our sales stock when meetings begin in the autumn, but the Secretary would be happy to hear from any bidder interested in acquiring all or part of this collection before individual copies go on sale.
Models Rally Blackheath ’94 – The rally took place in the most appalling weather conditions ever seen in the 30 years that models have been sailed by avid enthusiasts on the Prince of Wales Pond. Modellers came from the Kentish towns, such as Maidstone, Canterbury, Faversham and Whitstable and model clubs. Our Branch representative, David Abrahms, sailed his model tug. Undaunted, the modellers sailed their models with pride despite the pouring rain, which failed to stop during the entire four hours of the display. Such British spirit of determination gives one hope for the future, that our paddlers will survive. Ten models sailed on the pond in one session, the total was 14 overall. May I make special mention of Mr. May’s PS Waverley, whose namesake was sailing along the South Coast at the same time.
Heritage Afloat – The Association of Ship and Boat Preservation Organisations, Heritage Afloat, is a new association, set up to act as an umbrella organisation for maritime and waterway preservation. It seeks to raise awareness of the importance of our maritime heritage. Historic buildings in the United Kingdom are given statutory protection. Our railway preservation movement is second to none. Maritime preservation, in contrast, has neither the public profile, nor the financial resources, to compare. Historic ships are still being lost, the cable-layer John W Mackay, a familiar sight to many of us on Waverley, being a recent example. Heritage Afloat aims to change that by active promotion, both with the public at large and within Government.
We made a written submission to the recent House of Commons Select Committee on Heritage. The Committee’s report published in March, acknowledged that little thought had been given to protecting historic vessels, and that financial support has been almost non-existent. More importantly, it recognised the need for regular Government support for maritime heritage, pointing to the National Lottery as a possible source of funding.
Balmoral – made history being the first ever passenger pleasure ship to call at the small cargo quay of Mistley, Essex 29th June 1994 for a cruise down the River Stour.
And 50 years ago… Paddle Tug Reliant acquired by the National Maritime Museum and Eppleton Hall purchased by the Americans; Capt. Leonard Horsham, master of PS Medway Queen during her last years of service, remembered; Waverley’s full load at Largs with over 400 left behind. Read more…