Paddle Steamer Spot The Difference at Portsmouth

From 1897 onwards for over thirty years the Joint Railway service run by the London and South Western Railway and the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway and their successor the Southern Railway kept churning out near identical paddle steamers for their Portsmouth to Ryde ferry service. There were minor points of difference in the detail and they were ever so slightly different in size but basically they were all the same ship. And why not? If you hit on a design that works for the service you operate then why change?


Duchess of Kent was built in 1897. She was sold to the New Medway Steam Packet Company in 1933 becoming their Clacton Queen and then on to the Mersey & Blackpool Steamship Company in 1936 before being scrapped in 1937.


Duchess of Fife was built in 1899 and scrapped in 1929.


Duchess of Norfolk was built in 1911, was sold to Cosens & Co in 1937, renamed Embassy and lasted until 1966. She had a sister Duchess of Richmond, built in 1910 and believed to have been sunk in the Mediterranean whilst on service as a minesweeper in the First World War.


Shanklin was built in 1924 and passed to Cosens in 1951 for whom she ran as the Monarch primarily on the Bournemouth/Swanage service until withdrawn in September 1960 and scrapped the following year. She had two sisters both dating from 1928, Merstone which was scrapped in 1952 and Portsdown which was sunk by a mine on passage between Portsmouth and Ryde on 20 September 1940.


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