Built :- 1927. (as PS. “Freshwater” ) By J. Samuel White, Cowes, Isle Of Wight.
Scrapped :- 1962.
Gross Tons :- 263
Length :- 152.5 ft
Breadth :- 23.1 ft.
Depth :- 8.3 ft.
Engine :- 2 cylinder compound diagonal. Nominal Horsepower :- 74. HP cylinder diameter :- 19.5 inches. LP cylinder diameter :- 37 inches. Stroke :- 42 inches.
Fuel :- Coal.
This lovely little steamer began it’s life working for the Southern Railway on the service from Lymington to Yarmouth as PS. “Freshwater”. A role she kept until displaced in 1959. In 1960 she had been bought by Mr. Herbert Jennings of Budleigh Salterton, her funnel was painted white and she was renamed “Sussex Queen” and commenced operating from Brighton on short sea trips and also trips to Eastbourne. Unfortunately her season at Brighton was not successful, so in 1961 she turned up on the Swanage to Bournemouth route with her funnel now painted mid-blue, running in opposition to Cosens PS “Embassy”. Manned by a crew who apparently were not to efficient or motivated, the “Swanage Queen” suffered several mechanical failures, and media reports of her passengers on the last trip from Swanage to Bournemouth being stranded aboard her all night in thick fog in July 1961 did nothing to improve her popularity.
I remember the day well, as some guests who were staying at the same guest house in Swanage as us, failed to return for their evening meal. The owners of the guest house knowing that they had taken a trip to Bournemouth, assumed that they had decided to dine there. It was not until late that evening, that they began to wonder where their guests were. I remember that there was a great deal of concern the next morning when they failed to turn up for breakfast. They eventually turned up at approx 10 am, and related the story of their night upon the sea, anchored in Swanage Bay, due to the steamers captain being uncertain as to the position of the ship in the fog.. Regretfully by the end of the 1961 season, “Swanage Queen” was sold for scrap.
I made a couple of return trips on PS. “Swanage Queen” that summer, but completely without drama !
Links to sites featuring PS. Freshwater / Sussex Queen / Swanage Queen
PS “Freshwater” at Lymington. http://www.shipsofthemersey.photos.me.uk/p26704829.html
(Right) Swanage Queen leaving Swanage pier bound for Bournemouth, in the summer of 1961
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