The paddle steamer Monarch is up for sale at an initial asking price of £75K.
Monarch is the brainchild of Brian Waters one of the volunteers who worked helping to get Kingswear Castle into a sufficient state to return to service in the 1970s and early 1980s. With KC in steam once again Brian turned his thoughts to other matters and conceived the idea of building his own paddle steamer.
Work started around 1984 and initially progressed at a leisurely place. Over many years I walked past the bones and hull of Monarch in the Historic Dockyard at Chatham on a daily basis and wondered if she would ever be finished. But finished she was. In 2003 she ran trials with her new steam engine and oil fired boiler.
After that Brian took her to the River Stour in Kent and started running trips carrying just 12 passengers to try to recoup some of the money he had spent.
Around 2008 Brian sold her for service on the River Medina on the Isle of Wight and immediately started work building another paddler which he has called Bluebell this time with a stern wheel and powered by diesel hydraulics. Brian has therefore become a bit of a one man paddle steamer factory from his base in Chatham.
Bluebell was completed a couple of years ago and Brian has now sold her on as well.
Monarch was bought in 2012 by Noel Donnelly and moved to Wareham in Dorset where he has run her on short trips down through the delightful reed banks of the River Stour towards Poole Harbour.
Now she is up for sale. Anyone out there want to buy a paddle steamer?