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St Mawes Ferry
History of Falmouth to St Mawes Ferry Service
 
 
 
This page covers the history of Falmouth to St Mawes ferry service. There is a list of operators and their boats plus an alphabetical list of all boats.
 
St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd (1869-1968)
St Mawes is on the Percuil River, the village of Percuil previously having its own ferry service. In 1869 a group of St Mawes mariners bought the small tug Wotton (28.5 gross tons, 64 ft long) and converted her into a full time passenger ferry (66-167 passengers depending on area of operation). They formed the St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd in 1872. In 1878 they also acquired the small wooden steamer Jane.
 
In 1886, the company took delivery of the Roseland (48 gross tons, 75 ft long), built by Cox & Co of Falmouth. She served on the St Mawes ferry until 1938. The St Mawes ferry has never had ferry rights, so anyone could compete with the established company. In 1887, the Roseland & Falmouth Steam Packet Co used the St Mawes Castle on the service. They also ran the Falmouth Castle. Both steamers were sold for use on the Manchester Ship Canal and the Roseland & Falmouth company was dissolved.
 
The St Mawes company won the Royal Mail contract to carry letters to the Roseland Peninsular, and therefore received a subsidy for year round service. They also acquired the steamer Princess May (66 gross tons, 76.9 ft long) from Cox & Co in 1894 for use on excursions. Princess May was sold back to her builders (who had foreign buyers waiting) in 1902, and she was replaced by the Alexandra (73 gross tons, 84.6 ft long) from Cox & Co. Alexandra was acquired by the Ministry of War in 1916, and the St Mawes company ordered the St Mawes to replace her. She entered service in 1920, after use on war service as a harbour tender.
 
The first motor vessel in the fleet was the St Gerrans (73 gross tons, 69 ft long) of 1927, built by Silley, Cox & Co. She was powered by Gardiner Semi Diesel engines. She carried 280 passengers on the ferry (168 on coastal excursions). St Gerrans was joined by the small wooden motor launch Berry Castle in the 1930s, joining the Roseland and St Mawes. In 1938, the long serving Roseland was replaced by the New Roseland, previously the Royal Jubilee (59 gross tons, 69.6 ft long) from Bridlington. She had been built by Cook, Welton & Gemmell of Beverley in 1935. At the start of World War 2, the St Mawes was immediately hired by the Ministry of War Transport and moved to Clyde, never to return. She was broken up in Inverness in 1950. St Gerrans was also requisitioned, but returned due her temperamental engines and exchanged for New Roseland.
 
The non-return of St Mawes was rectified in 1948 when the St Mawes Castle (75 gross tons, 70 ft long) joined New Roseland and St Gerrans in the fleet. She was built by Philip of Dartmouth, with Blackstone diesel engines. She was followed in 1950 by the 52 ft long motor launch New Princess Maud. This fleet remained throughout the 1950s and most of the 1960s. In 1967 control of the St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co passed to Norman and Thomas Smith, with Thomas Treloar as Managing Owner of the four vessels. In 1968 he put the whole fleet up for auction. St Mawes Castle and St Gerrans went to Thames Pleasurecraft and New Roseland eventually went Coakley's Launches, also on the Thames. Only New Princess Maud remained on the St Mawes ferry. The eventually returned to Fal briefly in the 1970s with the Pill family.
 
The St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd was subsequently wound up. When the fleet was sold in 1968, the Pill Family took the opportunity to start a rival service. This caused a certain amount of friction until agreement was reached that the Pill Family would only run from the Town Quay in Falmouth, whilst the Ferry Company would run from the Prince of Wales Pier. Pill purchased the May Queen from Fleetwood for this service, and she remains on the same route in 2008 with Cornwall Ferries. The Pill fleet is covered on a separate page:- Pill Family Fleet List
 
 
St Mawes Ferry Company Ltd (1970-1991)
Norman and Thomas Smith incorporated a new company, the St Mawes Ferry Co Ltd in 1970. Control passed to William Miller in 1971, and to Leslie Ancliffe in 1975. The St Mawes Ferry Company ceased running excursions, and their fleet consisted of the New Princess Maud, and two small wooden motor vessels Princess Maria and Princess Marina. They were joined by the ex-Flushing Ferry Nankersey in 1976. They then bought the two ex-Dartmouth British Railways ferries Adrian Gilbert and Humphrey Gilbert, with the intention of replacing all four of the company's boats. However, they were deemed unsuitable and were sold back to the railways almost immediately. Adrian Gilbert subsequently returned to the Fal and remains in service in 2008 as the Pride of Falmouth of K & S Cruises. The St Mawes Ferry Company's four boats were sold in 1978 to T.E.Mattocks, the original company being wound up. In 1980 the owner became Peter Sparkes, who again traded as the St Mawes Ferry Company. The fleet at this time (1980) was Nankersey, New Princess Maud and Princess Maria. It remained unchanged for a decade, but in 1991 all three boats were working for the Pill family who took over the running of the St Mawes ferry.
 
 
George Henry Pill & William Pill (1991-2003)
George Henry Pill & William Pill bought the fleet, Nankersey, New Princess Maud and Princess Maria, of the St Mawes Ferry Company in 1991 and took over the running of the St Mawes ferry. The Pill family continued to run them until 2003, when the route and ferries were sold to Cornwall Ferries along with Adrian Gilbert, May Queen, New Princess Maud and Queen of Falmouth. Cornwall Ferries sold New Princess Maud back to George Pill in July 2004. The Pill fleet is covered on a separate page:- Pill Family Fleet List
 
 
Cornwall Ferries (2003- )
Since 2003, the St Mawes ferry has been run by the Cornwall Ferries, who acquired the route and ferries from the Pill family.
 
In 2008, Cornwall Ferries (also marketed as King Harry's Cornwall) operate a total of five different services in the Falmouth area. The St Mawes Ferry links St Mawes with Falmouth on two separate routes terminating at the Prince of Wales Pier and the Custom House Quay. From St Mawes you can also take the Place Ferry to Place. The King Harry Ferry is a chain ferry across the River Fal at Trelissick. The Ponsharden Park & Float links a car park at the edge of Falmouth with the Custom House Quay. They also run a bus as Ponsharden Park & Ride. Aqua Cab is a water taxi service which also runs some scheduled services from Custom House Quay to Mylor Yacht harbour as the Mylor Shuttle. Finally, Orca Sea Safaris run a wide range of wildlife watching cruises from the National Maritime Museum Cornwall using a fast RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat).
 
 
Sections on This Page:-
St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd (1869-1968)
Wotton (1869-1896, Built: 1866)
Roseland (1886-1946, Built: 1886)
Princess May (1894-1902, Built: 1894)
Alexandra (1902-1916, Built: 1902)
St Mawes (1917-1942, Built: 1917)
St Gerrans (1927-1968, Built: 1927)
Berry Castle (c.1930)
New Roseland (1938-1968, Built: 1934)
St Mawes Castle (1948-1968, Built: 1948)
New Princess Maud (1950-1968, Built: 1950)
 
St Mawes Ferry Company (1970-1991)
New Princess Maud (St Mawes Ferry Co: 1968-1991, Built: 1950)
Princess Maria (1975-1991, Built: 1927)
Princess Marina (1975-1988)
Nankersey (St Mawes Ferry Co: 1976-1994, Built: 1951)
Adrian Gilbert (St Mawes Ferry Co: 1977, Built: 1957)
Humphrey Gilbert (St Mawes Ferry Co: 1977, Built: 1957)
 
George Henry Pill & William Pill (St Mawes ferry: 1991-2003)
Adrian Gilbert (G.H.Pill - St Mawes ferry: 1991-2003 - Built: 1937)
May Queen (G.H.Pill - St Mawes ferry: 1991-2003 - Built: 1939)
Queen of Falmouth (G.H.Pill - St Mawes ferry: 1991-2003 - Built: 1937)
 
Cornwall Ferries - St Mawes Ferry (2003- )
Adrian Gilbert (2003-2006 - Built: 1937)
Duchess of Cornwall (2008- Built: 2008)
May Queen (2003- Built: 1939)
New Princess Maud (2003-2004 - Built: 1950)
Princess Maria (1991-19??, Built: 1927)
Queen of Falmouth (2003- Built: 1937)
 
Vessels on This Page:-
Adrian Gilbert: George Henry Pill: 1998-2003 - Built: 1937
Adrian Gilbert: Cornwall Ferries: 2003-2006 - Built: 1937)
Alexandra: St Mawes Steam Tug & Pass: 1902-1916, Built: 1902
Berry Castle: St Mawes Steam Tug & Pass: c.1930
Duchess of Cornwall: Cornwall Ferries: 2008- Built: 2008
May Queen; George Henry Pill: 1991-2003 - Built: 1939)
May Queen: Cornwall Ferries: 2003- Built: 1939
Nankersey: St Mawes Ferry Co: 1976-1991, Built: 1951
New Princess Maud: St Mawes Steam Tug & Pass: 1950-1968, Built: 1950
New Princess Maud: St Mawes Ferry Co: 1968-1991, Built: 1950
New Princess Maud: Cornwall Ferries: 2003-2004 - Built: 1950)
New Roseland: St Mawes Steam Tug & Pass: 1938-1968, Built: 1934
Princess Maria: St Mawes Ferry Co: 1975-1991, Built: 1927
Princess Maria: George Henry Pill: 1991-19??, Built: 1927
Princess Marina: St Mawes Ferry Co: 1975-1988, Built: 1936
Princess May: St Mawes Steam Tug & Pass: 1894-1902, Built: 1894
Queen of Falmouth: George Henry Pill: 1998-2003 - Built: 1937
Queen of Falmouth: Cornwall Ferries - 2003- Built: 1937
Roseland: St Mawes Steam Tug & Pass: 1886-1946, Built: 1886
St Gerrans: St Mawes Steam Tug & Pass: 1927-1968, Built: 1927
St Mawes: St Mawes Steam Tug & Pass: 1917-1942, Built: 1917
St Mawes Castle: St Mawes Steam Tug & Pass: 1948-1968, Built: 1948
Wotton: St Mawes Steam Tug & Pass: 1869-1896, Built: 1866
 
Other Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Pages:-
Cornwall Header Page
Falmouth 2008 Overview
Falmouth - Pill Family
Falmouth Pleasure Cruises
Green Boats
Flushing Ferry
Isles of Scilly SS
K&S Cruises
Newman's Cruises
Pill Family
River Fal Steamship Company
Scilly Inter-island Boats
St Mawes Ferry  - this page
 
Associated Pages:-
UK Excursion Ships and Ports
Ferry Postcards
Cruise Ship Postcards
Ocean Liner Postcards
Simplon Postcards Home Page
 
Associated Pages:-
Trip Out Guides - Written and published by G.P.Hamer - editions from 1977 to 2007
Trip Out Guides are available from Geoffrey Hamer, PO Box 485, Southall, UB1 9BH
Passenger Steamers of the Rover Fal - Alan Kittridge - Twelveheads Press, 1988
Steamers & Ferries of Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly - Alan Kittridge - Tempus, 2004
My thanks to Graham Thorne, Geoff Hamer, John Hendy and John Pill for assistance with this page
 
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St Mawes Ferry
St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd
(St Mawes ferry operators : 1869-1968)
 
St Mawes is on the Percuil River, the village of Percuil previously having its own ferry service. In 1869 a group of St Mawes mariners bought the small tug Wotton (28.5 gross tons, 64 ft long) and converted her into a full time passenger ferry (66-167 passengers depending on area of operation). There formed the St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd in 1872. In 1878 they also acquired the small wooden steamer Jane.
 
In 1886, the company took delivery of the Roseland (48 gross tons, 75 ft long), built by Cox & Co of Falmouth. She served on the St Mawes ferry until 1938. The St Mawes company won the Royal Mail contract to carry letters to the Roseland Peninsular, and therefore received a subsidy for year round service. They also acquired the steamer Princess May (66 gross tons, 76.9 ft long) from Cox & Co in 1894 for use on excursions. Princess May was sold back to her builders (who had foreign buyers waiting) in 1902, and she was replaced by the Alexandra (73 gross tons, 84.6 ft long) from Cox & Co. Alexandra was acquired by the Ministry of War in 1916, and the St Mawes company ordered the St Mawes to replace her. She entered service in 1920, after use on war service as a harbour tender.
 
The first motor vessel in the fleet was the St Gerrans (73 gross tons, 69 ft long) of 1927, built by Silley, Cox & Co. She was powered by Gardiner Semi Diesel engines. She carried 280 passengers on the ferry (168 on coastal excursions). St Gerrans was joined by the small wooden motor launch Berry Castle in the 1930s, joining the Roseland and St Mawes. In 1938, the long serving Roseland was replaced by the New Roseland, previously the Royal Jubilee (59 gross tons, 69.6 ft long) from Bridlington. She had been built by Cook, Welton & Gemmell of Beverley in 1935. At the start of World War 2, the St Mawes was immediately hired by the Ministry of War Transport and moved to Clyde, never to return. She was broken up in Inverness in 1950. St Gerrans was also requisitioned, but returned due her temperamental engines and exchanged for New Roseland.
 
The non-return of St Mawes was rectified in 1948 when the St Mawes Castle (75 gross tons, 70 ft long) joined New Roseland and St Gerrans in the fleet. She was built by Philip of Dartmouth, with Blackstone diesel engines. She was followed in 1950 by the 52 ft long motor launch New Princess Maud. This fleet remained throughout the 1950s and most of the 1960s. In 1967 control of the St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co passed to Norman and Thomas Smith, with Thomas Treloar as Managing Owner of the four vessels. In 1968 he put the whole fleet up for auction. St Mawes Castle and St Gerrans went to Thames Pleasurecraft and New Roseland eventually went Coakley's Launches, also on the Thames. Only New Princess Maud remained on the St Mawes ferry. The eventually returned to Fal briefly in the 1970s with the Pill family.
 
The St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd was subsequently wound up. When the fleet was sold in 1968, the Pill Family took the opportunity to start a rival service. This caused a certain amount of friction until agreement was reached that the Pill Family would only run from the Town Quay in Falmouth, whilst the Ferry Company would run from the Prince of Wales Pier. Pill purchased the May Queen from Fleetwood for this service, and she remains on the same route in 2008 with Cornwall Ferries. The Pill fleet is covered on a separate page:- Pill Family Fleet List
 
Wotton
(1869-1896, Built: 1866)
 
To be added
 
 
 
 
Roseland
(1886-1946, Built: 1886)
 
Opie (Redruth) photo postcard of Roseland
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Meekstown postcard of Roseland (right) and Princess Victoria (left)
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Valentine's postcard of Roseland (left) and Flushing boat Miranda (1) (right)
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E.E.Collins postcard of Roseland (right front) at the Prince of Wales Pier
New Resolute is off the pier on the left, with Miranda (1) behind her. Victor is behind Roseland and
Princess Victoria and Queen of the Fal are behind the pier
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E.T.W.Dennis postcard of Roseland at Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth, with New Resolute behind her
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E.T.W.Dennis postcard of Roseland at the Prince of Wales Pier, with New Resolute behind her
Enlarged image from the card above
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Princess May
(1894-1902, Built: 1894)
 
To be added
 
 
 
Alexandra
(1902-1916, Built: 1902)
 
To be added
 
 
 
St Mawes
(1917-1942, Built: 1917)
 
Valentine's postcard H.2147 of St Mawes at St Mawes quay
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Valentine's postcard H.2147 of St Mawes at St Mawes quay
Enlarged image from the card above
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St Gerrans
(1927-1968, Built: 1927)
 
St Gerrans was built in 1927 by Cox of Falmouth. She was 73 gross tons. She ran on the Fal with the St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd from 1927 to 1968. She was with Thames Pleasure Craft 1971-74 and then returned to Fal. for the Pill family's Cornish Ferry (Red Funnel). Sold in 1988 and converted to motor yacht, 1993.
 
 
Judges postcard 26450 of St Gerrans at St Mawes
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Judges postcard 26450 of St Gerrans at St Mawes
Enlarged image from postcard above
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E.A.Sweetman postcard of St Gerrans at St Mawes
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E.A.Sweetman postcard of St Gerrans at St Mawes
Enlarged virew from the card above
 
 
Salmon postcard 1-44-01-01/2894c of St Gerrans at St Mawes
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Berry Castle

(Built: c.1930)

 

 St Gerrans was joined by the small wooden motor launch Berry Castle in the 1930s, joining the Roseland and St Mawes.

 

 

Hinde postcard of Berry Castle at Falmouth

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New Roseland

(1938-1968, Built: 1934)
 
National Series postcard of New Roseland at Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth
Posted October 1962
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Valentine's postcard L.948 of New Roseland at St Mawes
Posted June 1958
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Valentine's postcard L.948 of New Roseland at St Mawes
Enlarged image from postcard above
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Valentine's postcard L.1606 of New Roseland and St Mawes Castle at Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth
Flushing ferry Nankersey bottom left
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Valentine's postcard L.1606 of New Roseland and St Mawes Castle at Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth
Enlarged image from postcard above
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John Clarkson photographic postcard of New Roseland
Photo: © John Clarkson
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John Hinde postcard 2DC224 of New Princess Maud and New Roseland at St Mawes
Photo: E.Ludwig
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John Hinde postcard 2DC224 of New Princess Maud and New Roseland at St Mawes
Photo: E.Ludwig - Enlarged image from card above
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Photographic Greetings Card postcard (1144 C-21502) of New Roseland at St Mawes
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Photographic Greetings Card postcard (1144 C-21502) of New Roseland at St Mawes
Enlarged image from the postcard above
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St Mawes Castle
(1948-1968, Built: 1948)
 
Photographic postcard of St Mawes Castle
Simplon Postcards Collection
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Valentine's postcard L.1606 of New Roseland and St Mawes Castle at Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth
Flushing ferry Nankersey bottom left
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Valentine's postcard L.1606 of New Roseland and St Mawes Castle at Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth
Enlarged image from postcard above
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Attractive Plastichrome postcard P39572 of St Mawes Castle leaving St Mawes
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New Princess Maud
(1950-1968, Built: 1950)
 
Wooden launch built 1950. Ran on the Fal from 1950 to 2005, initially with the St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd and its successor the St Mawes Ferry Company. In 1991 she was sold to the Pill family along with Nankersey and Princess Maria, and remained on the St Mawes ferry. She passed to Cornwall Ferries along with the St Mawes ferry route in 2003, only to be sold back to G Pill in July 2004, then to K & S Cruises in 2005 and since sold on again. At Tobermory as Sula Mhor in 2006.
 
 
John Hinde postcard 2DC224 of New Princess Maud and New Roseland at St Mawes
Photo: E.Ludwig
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John Hinde postcard 2DC224 of New Princess Maud and New Roseland at St Mawes
Photo: E.Ludwig - Enlarged image from card above
Click to open larger image in new window
 
 
 
 
 
St Mawes Ferry Company
(St Mawes ferry operators : 1970-1991)
 
Norman and Thomas Smith incorporated a new company, the St Mawes Ferry Co Ltd in 1970. Control passed to William Miller in 1971, and to Leslie Ancliffe in 1975. The St Mawes Ferry Company ceased running excursions, and their fleet consisted of the New Princess Maud, and two small wooden motor vessels Princess Maria and Princess Marina. They were joined by the ex-Flushing Ferry Nankersey in 1976. They then bought the two ex-Dartmouth British Railways ferries Adrian Gilbert and Humphrey Gilbert, with the intention of replacing all four of the company's boats. However, they were deemed unsuitable and were sold back to the railways almost immediately. Adrian Gilbert subsequently returned to the Fal and remains in service in 2008 as the Pride of Falmouth of K & S Cruises. The St Mawes Ferry Company's four boats were sold in 1978 to T.E.Mattocks, the original company being wound up. In 1980 the owner became Peter Sparkes, who again traded as the St Mawes Ferry Company. The fleet at this time (1980) was Nankersey, New Princess Maud and Princess Maria. It remained unchanged for a decade, but in 1991 all three boats were working for the Pill family who took over the running of the St Mawes ferry.
 
 
New Princess Maud
(St Mawes Ferry Company: 1968-1991, Built: 1950)
 
Wooden launch built 1950. Ran on the Fal from 1950 to 2005, initially with the St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd and its successor the St Mawes Ferry Company. In 1991 she was sold to the Pill family along with Nankersey and Princess Maria, and remained on the St Mawes ferry. She passed to Cornwall Ferries along with the St Mawes ferry route in 2003, only to be sold back to G Pill in July 2004, then to K & S Cruises in 2005 and since sold on again. At Tobermory as Sula Mhor in 2006.
 
 
John Hinde postcard 2DC224 of New Princess Maud and New Roseland at St Mawes
Photo: E.Ludwig
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John Hinde postcard 2DC224 of New Princess Maud and New Roseland at St Mawes
Photo: E.Ludwig - Enlarged image from card above
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New Princess Maud on the St Mawes Ferry in 1987
Photo: Alan Kittridge

 

 

 

 

Princess Maria
(St Mawes Ferry Co: 1975-1991, Built: 1927)
 

Princess Maria on winter overhaul in St Mawes Ferry Company colours

Photo: Alan Kittridge

 

 

Princess Maria on winter overhaul

Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Princess Marina
(St Mawes Ferry Co: 1975-1988, Built: 1936)
 
Princess Marina was previously the Sea Horse II at St Mary's and went to the St Mawes ferry in 1969. She worked the Flushing Ferry during some winters.
 
 
Princess Marina on the St Mawes ferry
Scan: Alan Kittridge
 
 
Postcard with Princess Marina arriving on the left whilst working the Flushing Ferry
Enterprise and Enterprise II at the pier
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Postcard with Princess Marina arriving on the left
Enterprise and Enterprise II at the pier - Enlarged image of card above
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Nankersey
(St Mawes Ferry Company: 1976-1991, Built: 1951)
 
Built: 1951 - 23 gross tons - 45 ft long - 91 passengers
 
Nankersey was a wooden launch built in 1951, by Falmouth Boat Construction. She was 23 gross tons and had a small saloon and upper deck. She was on the Flushing Ferry from 1951 to 1976, and then worked for the St Mawes Ferry Co, who gave her a raised bridge and small funnel. By 1991 Nankersey was running for the Pill family, along with New Princess Maud and Princess Maria. Nankersey was sold to Fleetwood in 1994 and ran as Lady Victoria Belle. For sale 1998, no further records found.
 
 
Valentine's postcard L.1606 of Nankersey (bottom left)
With New Roseland and St Mawes Castle at Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth
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Valentine's postcard L.1606 of Nankersey
Enlarged image from the postcard above
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Nankersey on the St Mawes Ferry in 1984, with Skylark II
Photo: Alan Kittridge

 

 

Photograph of Lady Victoria Belle at Fleetwood.
Photo: © Ian Boyle.
 
 
 
 
 
Adrian Gilbert (St Mawes Ferry Company: 1977, Built: 1957)
Humphrey Gilbert (St Mawes Ferry Company: 1977, Built: 1957)
 
Built: 1957 - 35 gross tons - 58 ft long - 100 passengers
 
Adrian Gilbert and Humphrey Gilbert were built for British Railways (BR) in 1957 for the Dartmouth-Kingswear ferry service. The service and the two sisters passed into local authority ownership in 1972, when BR closed the Kingswear branch beyond Goodrington. Both boats were sold in 1976 for use on the St Mawes ferry in Cornwall. There is some doubt about whether either or both vessels even made it to Falmouth, but they were deemed unsuitable and were bought back by BR for use on the Tilbury-Gravesend ferry. They again proved unsuitable for this route, but were re-engined and offered for sale. Adrian Gilbert was sold to Dart Pleasure Craft, who had taken over the Dart ferry from the local authority on 1st January 1977. In 1985, she was re-joined by her sister Humphrey Gilbert, now the Edgcumbe Belle. Adrian Gilbert was sold in 1996, joining G.H. & W.G.Pill of Falmouth, apparently proving more successful on the St Mawes ferry second time around. Adrian Gilbert passed to Cornwall Ferries along with the St Mawes ferry route in 2003, and then to K & S Cruises as the Pride of Falmouth in 2006.
 
I have no images of these vessels at Falmouth
 
 
Photo of Adrian Gilbert in BR service on the Dart
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George Henry Pill & William Pill
(St Mawes ferry operators: 1991-2003)
 
In 1968 the St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd was wound up, and the fleet sold. The Pill Family took the opportunity to start a rival service between Falmouth and St Mawes. This caused a certain amount of friction until agreement was reached that the Pill Family would only run from the Town Quay in Falmouth, whilst the revived St Mawes Ferry Company would run from the Prince of Wales Pier. Pill purchased the May Queen from Fleetwood for this service, and she remains on the same route in 2008 with Cornwall Ferries.
In 1991, George Henry Pill & William Pill bought the three boats Nankersey, New Princess Maud and Princess Maria from the St Mawes Ferry Company, and took over the running of the St Mawes ferry. The Pill family continued to run the route until 2003, when the route and ferries were sold to Cornwall Ferries. They continued to use their existing May Queen on the route and acquired the Adrian Gilbert and Queen of Falmouth. Nankersey and Princess Maria were sold. The Pill fleet is covered on a separate page:- Pill Family Fleet List
 
May Queen
(G.H.Pill - St Mawes ferry: 1991-2003 - Built: 1939)
 
May Queen was built in Aberystwyth in 1939, and came to Fal from Fleetwood for the Pill family in 1968 for the St Mawes Ferry. She served on the St Mawes ferry and passed to Cornwall Ferries with the route in 2003.
 
 
May Queen in Pill ownership, en route to Falmouth in 2002
Photo: © Jonathan Brown, 2002
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May Queen (right) at Prince of Wales Pier in 2003, with Adrian Gilbert, and Princessa behind
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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New Princess Maud
(G.H.Pill - St Mawes ferry: 1991-2003 - Built: 1950)
 
Wooden launch built 1950. Ran on the Fal from 1950 to 2005, initially with the St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd and its successor the St Mawes Ferry Company. In 1991 she was sold to the Pill family along with Nankersey and Princess Maria, and remained on the St Mawes ferry. She passed to Cornwall Ferries along with the St Mawes ferry route in 2003, only to be sold back to G Pill in July 2004, then to K & S Cruises in 2005 and since sold on again. At Tobermory as Sula Mhor in 2006.
 
 
New Princess Maud in Pill service in 2001
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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New Princess Maud with the rebuilt Queen of Falmouth
Although in Cornwall Ferries ownership, New Princess Maud remains in red Pill livery and was sold back to them in 2004
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Princess Maria
(George Henry Pill: 1991-19??, Built: 1927)
 
Princess Maria on winter overhaul in St Mawes Ferry Company colours
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Adrian Gilbert
(G.H.Pill - St Mawes ferry: 1996-2003 - Built: 1937)
 
Built: 1957 - 35 gross tons - 58 ft long - 100 passengers
 
Adrian Gilbert and Humphrey Gilbert were built for British Railways (BR) in 1957 for the Dartmouth-Kingswear ferry service. The service and the two sisters passed into local authority ownership in 1972, when BR closed the Kingswear branch beyond Goodrington. Both boats were sold in 1976 for use on the St Mawes ferry in Cornwall. There is some doubt about whether either or both vessels even made it to Falmouth, but they were deemed unsuitable and were bought back by BR for use on the Tilbury-Gravesend ferry. They again proved unsuitable for this route, but were re-engined and offered for sale. Adrian Gilbert was sold to Dart Pleasure Craft, who had taken over the Dart ferry from the local authority on 1st January 1977. In 1985, she was re-joined by her sister Humphrey Gilbert, now the Edgcumbe Belle. Adrian Gilbert was sold in 1996, joining G.H. & W.G.Pill of Falmouth, apparently proving more successful on the St Mawes ferry second time around. Adrian Gilbert passed to Cornwall Ferries along with the St Mawes ferry route in 2003, and then to K & S Cruises as the Pride of Falmouth in 2006.
 
 
Postcard of Adrian Gilbert at St Mawes
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Adrian Gilbert departing St Mawes in Pill ownership
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Adrian Gilbert (left) at Prince of Wales Pier in 2003, with May Queen, and Princessa behind
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Queen of Falmouth
(G.H.Pill - St Mawes ferry: 1998-2003 - Built: 1937)
 
Built: 1937 - 34 gross tons - 56 ft long - 100 passengers
 
Queen of Falmouth was built as the Maid of Bute in 1937 and served at Rothesay. She is the sister of the Queen of the Fal, and it quite remarkable that they should both meet again on the Fal after so many years and with such similar names. After service as Maid of Bute she became the Maid of the Forth (2) running on the Forth between 1983-88, and at Southend, before coming to the Fal for the Pill family in 1998 and receiving her current name. She spent one year in Plymouth 2000 with K.J.Bridge and passed to Cornwall Ferries in 2003. Completely rebuilt 2004 and now on St Mawes Ferry.
 
 
Maid of the Forth at Falmouth prior to refitting as Queen of Falmouth
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Queen of Falmouth at St Mawes
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Cornwall Ferries - St Mawes Ferry
(St Mawes ferry operators: 2003- )
 
Since 2003, the St Mawes ferry has been run by the Cornwall Ferries, who acquired the route and ferries from the Pill family, who had run the ferry exclusively since 1991.
 
In 2008, Cornwall Ferries (also marketed as King Harry's Cornwall) operate a total of five different services in the Falmouth area. The St Mawes Ferry links St Mawes with Falmouth on two separate routes terminating at the Prince of Wales Pier and the Custom House Quay. From St Mawes you can also take the Place Ferry to Place. The King Harry Ferry is a chain ferry across the River Fal at Trelissick. The Ponsharden Park & Float links a car park at the edge of Falmouth with the Custom House Quay. They also run a bus as Ponsharden Park & Ride. Aqua Cab is a water taxi service which also runs some scheduled services from Custom House Quay to Mylor Yacht harbour as the Mylor Shuttle. Finally, Orca Sea Safaris run a wide range of wildlife watching cruises from the National Maritime Museum Cornwall using a fast RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat).
 
 
New Princess Maud
(Cornwall Ferries - St Mawes Ferry: 2003-2004 - Built: 1950)
 
Wooden launch built 1950. Ran on the Fal from 1950 to 2005, initially with the St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd and its successor the St Mawes Ferry Company. In 1991 she was sold to the Pill family along with Nankersey and Princess Maria, and remained on the St Mawes ferry. She passed to Cornwall Ferries along with the St Mawes ferry route in 2003, only to be sold back to G Pill in July 2004, then to K & S Cruises in 2005 and since sold on again. At Tobermory as Sula Mhor in 2006.
 
 
New Princess Maud with the rebuilt Queen of Falmouth
New Princess Maud remains in red Pill livery and was sold back to them in 2004
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Adrian Gilbert
(Cornwall Ferries - St Mawes Ferry: 2003-2006 - Built: 1937)
 
Built: 1957 - 35 gross tons - 58 ft long - 100 passengers
 
Adrian Gilbert and Humphrey Gilbert were built for British Railways (BR) in 1957 for the Dartmouth-Kingswear ferry service. The service and the two sisters passed into local authority ownership in 1972, when BR closed the Kingswear branch beyond Goodrington. Both boats were sold in 1976 for use on the St Mawes ferry in Cornwall. There is some doubt about whether either or both vessels even made it to Falmouth, but they were deemed unsuitable and were bought back by BR for use on the Tilbury-Gravesend ferry. They again proved unsuitable for this route, but were re-engined and offered for sale. Adrian Gilbert was sold to Dart Pleasure Craft, who had taken over the Dart ferry from the local authority on 1st January 1977. In 1985, she was re-joined by her sister Humphrey Gilbert, now the Edgcumbe Belle. Adrian Gilbert was sold in 1996, joining G.H. & W.G.Pill of Falmouth, apparently proving more successful on the St Mawes ferry second time around. Adrian Gilbert passed to Cornwall Ferries along with the St Mawes ferry route in 2003, and then to K & S Cruises as the Pride of Falmouth in 2006.
 
 
Adrian Gilbert departing St Mawes
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Adrian Gilbert and Queen of Falmouth at Falmouth
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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May Queen
(Cornwall Ferries - St Mawes Ferry: 2003- )
 
Built: 1939 - ?? gross tons - 60 ft long - 100 passengers
 
May Queen was built in Aberystwyth in 1939, and came to Fal from Fleetwood for the Pill family in 1968 for the St Mawes Ferry. To Cornwall Ferries 2003.
 
 
May Queen leaving St Mawes for Custom House Quay
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008
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May Queen at Custom House Quay, Falmouth
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008
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May Queen arriving at St Mawes
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008
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Queen of Falmouth
(Cornwall Ferries - St Mawes Ferry: 2003- )
 
Built: 1937 - 34 gross tons - 56 ft long - 100 passengers
 
Queen of Falmouth was built as the Maid of Bute in 1937 and served at Rothesay. She is the sister of the Queen of the Fal, and it quite remarkable that they should both meet again on the Fal after so many years and with such similar names. After service as Maid of Bute she became the Maid of the Forth (1) running on the Forth between 1983-88, and at Southend, before coming to the Fal for the Pill family in 1998 and receiving her current name. She spent one year in Plymouth 2000 with K.J.Bridge and passed to Cornwall Ferries in 2003. Completely rebuilt 2004 and now on St Mawes Ferry.
 
 
Queen of Falmouth on launch day after her major refit in 2004
New Princess Maud on the left
Photo: © Jonathan Brown, 2004
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Adrian Gilbert and Queen of Falmouth at Falmouth
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Queen of Falmouth (right) and original sister Queen of the Fal at Falmouth Prince of Wales Pier
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Queen of Falmouth and Duchess of Cornwall at Falmouth
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Queen of Falmouth and Duchess of Cornwall at Falmouth
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Queen of Falmouth leaving St Mawes for the Prince of Wales Pier
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008
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Queen of Falmouth on passage to St Mawes from the Prince of Wales Pier
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008
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Duchess of Cornwall
(Cornwall Ferries - St Mawes Ferry: 2008- )
 
Built: 2008 - ?? gross tons - 62 ft long - 100 passengers
 
 
Duchess of Cornwall off the Prince of Wales Pier at Falmouth
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008
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Duchess of Cornwall on passage from St Mawes to the Prince of Wales Pier
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008
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Queen of Falmouth and Duchess of Cornwall at Falmouth
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Queen of Falmouth and Duchess of Cornwall at Falmouth
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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Duchess of Cornwall at Prince of Wales Pier in the snow, February 2009
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
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