The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society was founded in 1959 at a time when this familiar and much-loved class of ships was in steep decline and faced possible extinction. Its aims were to encourage the retention and expansion of existing steamer services, to stimulate public awareness and, ultimately, to purchase and preserve at least one surviving example.
Now, 60 th years on, this fascinating book records the previously untold history of one of Britain’s oldest and most successful maritime preservation societies; one which has succeeded in saving not one but two jewels in the crown of the UK’s maritime heritage – the iconic paddle steamers Waverley and Kingswear Castle.
Drawing on the PSPS archives and the memories of those most closely involved, the book recalls the 1960s and 70s when members were able to sail on board or charter a wide variety of tugs, ferries and excursion ships; describes the purchase, restoration and subsequent careers of Waverley and Kingswear Castle; and examines the Society’s close links with other paddle steamers including Maid of the Loch and Medway Queen, and the motor vessel Balmoral. The extraordinary range of voluntary tasks carried out by members over the 60 years is celebrated, and there is a wealth of previously unpublished information to inform, surprise and amuse.
Illustrated with over 200 rare, mostly colour, photographs, depicting a wonderful array of paddlers from the 1950s onwards, special moments in the careers of the Waverley and Kingswear Castle, plus significant events in the Society’s history, this book is essential reading for all paddle steamer enthusiasts. It will also appeal to all those with an interest in coastal passenger shipping, maritime preservation and Britain’s nautical heritage.
All proceeds from the book will go to PSPS funds and be used to help ensure that Waverley and Kingswear Castle continue to sail into the future.