Paddle Steamer Monarch 1924 - 1961


Forty years ago this summer, the beautiful paddle steamer Monarch was scrapped in Cork. Built as the Shanklin for the Southern Railway service from Portsmouth, Southsea and Stokes Bay to Ryde on the Isle of Wight, she was displaced by a modern Diesel vessel, also called Shanklin, in 1951 and then passed to Cosens and Company of Weymouth who ran her on the Bournemouth station, most often on the Swanage service, until 1960. This steamer notice is for the first sailings of the 1960 season which turned out to be her last year in service.


During June Monarch ran most of the Bournemouth services, occasionally assisted by Consul, until joined by Embassy on 3rd July. It is interesting to note what short seasons these steamers ran compared with Kingswear Castle and Waverley today. In 1960 Monarch started on Tuesday 31st May and ended her season on Thursday 8th September. Embassy started on Sunday 3rd July and retreated to her winter layup after her last trips on Thursday 23rd September.


Monarch boarded up at the Pleasure Pier at Weymouth in the spring of 1961 awaiting a tow to the breakers. Note that the doors on the main deck are of different sizes. When on the railway service cargo was carried on the foredeck and a larger door on the starboard side enabled larger cases to be hauled under cover.


Monarch in the Backwater at Weymouth shortly after the announcement that she was to be scrapped. Note that the aft saloon did not extend the full width of the ship. This was a common feature on the Portsmouth railway paddle steamers and was, and is, also very usual on Swiss paddlers. There are also two telegraphs visible back aft, one for docking instructions from the captain to the seaman handling the ropes and the other, unusually for an excursion paddler, for giving steering instructions for the use of the emergency wheel. The top of this can be seen sited on the forrard end of the steam steering gear.

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