Waverley arrived at Newhaven for her first visit to the South Coast almost 40 years ago on Monday 17th April 1978.
She had several days off service where the crew worked hard to ensure the steamer looked her best before her first public sailing on the South Coast on the evening of Friday 21st April. With the Shirley Western Showband and 840 passengers on board Waverley departed Newhaven at 7pm for an evening cruise to Beachy Head. The following two days saw further cruises from Newhaven thereafter she made her way to the Thames before returning to the South Coast in May to offer more public sailings.
Various agents were engaged to sell Waverley tickets with the Wessex Branch of the PSPS helping to distribute publicity. One poster was simply titled “She’s Coming”.Not all Waverley directors were in favour of the steamer visiting the South Coast and Thames but one supporter gave the venture his financial backing. The financial outcome of the 1978 visit proved to be positive with ticket revenue of over £92,000, shop takings at over £9,000 and catering revenue of £28,000.
Those first South Coast sailings by Waverley were captured on film and a new video has been uploaded to the PSPS YouTube channel.
The sailing from Glasgow to Newhaven was reported in the Summer 1978 issue of Paddle Wheels by Mrs Margaret Russell and an extract of that article can be found here.