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Southend Excursion Vessels
Southend - Page 2
 
 
This is one of a series of pages devoted to the passenger boats of the Thames and Medway Estuaries. This page shows postcards and photographs of Southend excursion vessels. Page 1 covers the famous Southend Pier and its railway.
 
 
Small Southend Excursion Vessels
With the growth of Southend as a holiday resort, local fisherman would offer trips from the beach on both sailing and rowing boats. The boats used were sailing yawls, invariably clinker-built, which had originally been used by East Anglian beachmen for salvage and assistance to sailing vessels in difficulty on the treacherous sandbanks running along the coast. They were put out of work as ships became steam-powered, or steam tugs were available, and some of the yawls were moved to Clacton and Southend for use as excursion boats. They were re-rigged as gaff ketches, arriving at Southend from around 1890, where they were known locally as 'lifeboats'. New boats were later built for local owners, but these were usually carvel hulled. Subsequently, small motor boats would be used. Larger boats later sailed from the end of the pier. Larger steamers of the main Thames excursion companies, General Steam Navigation, New Palace Steamers, Belle Steamers etc also called at the pier, but these are all covered on separate pages.
 
An early regular visitor to Southend was the paddle steamer The Mermaid, which was owned by the Victoria Steamboat Association & successors (1891-1910), Rosherville Pier and Steam Packet Company (1911) and F.K.Tucker (1912-1914). Note that Rosherville was an estate of large houses adjacent to Gravesend, built to allow commuting into London when steam boats first became viable. The Mermaid was 160 feet long and 194 gross tons.
 
In 1909 Henry Cooney ran the Sunbeam as a ferry between Southend and Sheerness. Sunbeam had served at Morecambe for the Morecambe Steamboat Co between 1885-1909. Henry Cooney was also a director of the New Medway SP Co, so one assumes the Sunbeam ran in collaboration rather than competition with the larger company. Sunbeam was reportedly burnt out in 1911 and replaced by the Duke of Abercorn, which had also operated in Morecambe. They were marketed as the Southend SP Co. Henry Cooney also chartered the paddle steamer Lord Nelson. His next steamer was the Essex (2) of the Great Eastern Railway. She was laid up at the start of the war, and sold to the Goole & Hull SP co in 1916.
 
An important arrival at Southend was the New Prince of Wales in 1923, the first English motor pleasure boat of over 100 tons. She was joined by the slightly larger Southend Britannia the following year.
 
The smaller Dreadnought and New Skylark were built before the war, and were the mainstay of local services for many years afterwards. They were rivals until c.1987, when both were operated by Southend Water Pleasure. Dreadnought was soon sold, and Maid of the Forth and Nemo II were acquired, the former from South Queensferry, whilst Nemo II had previously run cruises from nearby Brightlingsea and Clacton.
 
c.1985, Invicta Line Cruises of Chatham began services between Southend and Strood, using the Clyde and Thames Queen. Lady Essex began cruises for M.Reis in 1987, and Thames Queen was sold by Invicta Line, to be replaced by Clairest in 1989. Invicta Line ceased operations c.1992. Princess Pocahontas was acquired by the Lower Thames & Medway Passenger Boat Co in 1989, and began regular calls at Southend from her base in Gravesend. She remains in service in 2006. In 1993, New Skylark joined the Lady Essex in the fleet of M.Reis, Southend Water Pleasure continuing with just Maid of the Forth. She was joined by Duchess M in 1997, which effectively replaced Invicta Line with ferry crossings to Strood and Queenborough. In 1999, only Duchess M, New Skylark and Princess Pocahontas were regularly serving Southend. Southend Water Pleasure sold the Duchess M to the Lower Thames & Medway Passenger Boat Co for use on the Tilbury-Gravesend ferry, but acquired Devon Belle II as a replacement. Devon Belle II and New Skylark remained in service in 2005, New Skylark now being owned by A.Richards.
 
 
Sections on this Page:-
Southend's Local Sailing Boats - 'Life Boats' - beach-launched sailing boats referred to locally as 'life boats'
Southend's Local Excursion Motor Boats
Southend's Visiting Excursion Vessels using the Pier
 
Vessels on this Page:-
Anzio
Anzio I
Britannia I - (Built: 1921 - Southend: 1921-1958)
British Queen
Champion - sailing 'life-boat'
Coronation - sailing 'life-boat'
Devon Belle II
Dreadnought (1)
Dreadnought (2) - (Built: 1936)
Duchess of York
Duchess M - (Built: 1956 - Southend Water Pleasure: c1997-2002)
Duke of Abercorn - (Southend SP Co: 1911-1914 - 144 grt)
Grace Darling - sailing 'life-boat'
Julia Freak - motor 'life-boat'
Maid of the Forth
My Queen
Nemo II
New Prince of Wales - (Built: 1923 - Southend Motor Navigation: 1923-19??)
New Skylark - (Built: 1937)
Princess Maud - (Built: 1920? - Southend: 19??-19??)
Princess Pocahontas
San Toy 1 - motor 'life-boat'
Seafoam - motor 'life-boat'
Sheppey Queen
Silver Queen
Sky-Lark - sailing 'life-boat'
Southend Belle - (Built: 1947 - Southend Belle Cruises: 1947-1958)
Southend Britannia - (Built: 1924 - Charles & Arthur Myall:1924-1939)
Sunbeam - (Southend SP Co: 1909-1911 - 85 grt)
Swanage Queen
The Mermaid
 
Other Thames, Kent & Essex Pages:-
Southend Page 1 - Southend Pier
Southend Page 2 - Southend Small Excursion Boats - This page
Southend Page 3 - Southend Motor Navigation Co - Fleet List
Southend Page 4 - Southend Motor Navigation Co - Company History
Southend Page 5 - Westcliff, Chalkwell & Leigh-on-Sea Excursion Boats
Southend Page 6 - Southend Cliff Railway  
MV Balmoral - 2006 cruise past Southend Pier
PS Waverley - 2005 cruise past Southend Pier
Essex Piers
Kent Piers
Kent Excursion Vessels
General Steam Navigation
Invicta Line
Lower Thames & Medway Passenger Boat Co
New Palace Steamers
Tilbury-Gravesend Ferry
 
Associated Pages:-
UK Excursion Ships
Ferry Postcards
Cruise Ship Postcards
Ocean Liner Postcards
Simplon Postcards - Recent Updates
Simplon Postcards - Home Page
 
References:-
Trip Out Guides - Written and published by G.P.Hamer - various editions from 1977 to 2005 consulted
Trip Out Guides are available from Geoffrey Hamer, PO Box 485, Southall, UB1 9BH
 
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Southend Excursion Vessels


Southend's Local Sailing Boats - 'Life Boats'


Local sailing and rowing boats gave visitors trips directly from the beach. These boats were described as 'life boats' on postcards, and many had names such as Lifeboat Coronation. Some contemporary postcards showing these boats are shown below.



'Life boats' at Southend-on-Sea.
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'Life boats' at Southend-on-Sea.
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'Life boats' at Southend-on-Sea, posted 28/08/1917.
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East Beach with lifeboat Champion, posted 19/08/1917.



Lifeboat Coronation.



West Beach at Southend with life boats.
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Real photo postcard of boat on the East Beach
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Southend Excursion Boats - www.simplonpc.co.uk



East Beach at Southend with life boats.



Promenade at Southend with larger sailing boats.
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Official postcard of the Grace Darling of G.Gundy at Southend-on-Sea.
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Passengers on 'Life boat' Grace Darling at Southend-on-Sea
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Southend Excusrion Boat - www.simplonpc.co.uk



Passengers on a 'Life boat' at Southend-on-Sea, with Grace Darling behind
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Southend Excusrion Boat - www.simplonpc.co.uk



Passengers on 'Life boat' Sky-Lark at Southend-on-Sea.
Scan: Derek Windebank
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Passengers on a 'Life boat' at Southend-on-Sea.
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Marine Parade at Southend with larger fishing boats.



Marine Parade at Southend with larger fishing boats.



Marine Parade at Southend with larger fishing boats.



Boats at Southend Esplanade
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Boat off Westcliff-on-Sea
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Real photo postcard of Silver Queen of Southend
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Southend Excursion Boats - www.simplonpc.co.ukSouthend Excursion Boats - www.simplonpc.co.uk



Postcard of the Queen Alexandra run by George Culham
Scan: Ken Tupper
Southend Excusrion Boat - www.simplonpc.co.uk



Postcard of Queen Alexandra run by George Culham
Scan: Ken Tupper
Southend Excusrion Boat - www.simplonpc.co.uk



Postcard of the Imperial Lifeboat run by George Culham
George Culham is standing on the right
Scan: Ken Tupper

Southend Excusrion Boat - www.simplonpc.co.uk



George Culham also crewed on the local lifeboat The Theodore and Herbert
George Culham is standing fourth the right of those facing the camera, hand on hip
Scan: Ken Tupper

Southend Lifeboat - The Theodore and Herbert - RNLI - www.simplonpc.co.uk



Real photo postcard of boat on the East Beach
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Southend Excursion Boats - www.simplonpc.co.uk



Later postcard of the motor boat Seafoam at Westcliff
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Duchess of York at Shoeburyness
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Boats visiting the fleet at Southend.
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Southend's Local Excursion Boats



Sunbeam
(Southend SP Co: 1909-1911 - 85 grt)

The screw steamer Sunbeam served at Morecambe for the Morecambe Steamboat Co between 1885-1909. In 1909 Henry Cooney ran her as a ferry between Southend and Sheerness. Henry Cooney was also a director of the New Medway SP Co, so one assumes the Sunbeam ran in collaboration rather than competition with the larger company. Sunbeam was reportedly burnt out in 1911 and replaced by the Duke of Abercorn, which had also operated in Morecambe.



Photographic postcard of Sunbeam, probably at Southend, with P&O liner in the background.






Duke of Abercorn
(Southend SP Co: 1911-1914 - 144 grt)

The twin screw steamer Britannia was built for J.Brown, Robert Birkett and R.Wilson of Lancaster in 1888, and served at Morecambe for their Morecambe Steamboat Co until 1904. Britannia ran excursions to Fleetwood and Blackpool plus local trips. She then served in Dublin for Duke Shipping Co and was renamed Duke of Abercorn. She ran aground on Dalkey Island in 1910, but was refloated on the next tide. In 1911 she moved to Southend for Henry Cooney's Southend Steam Packet Co, where she replaced the burnt out Sunbeam. In 1914 she was bought by David MacBrayne for summer excursions. She also briefly operated the Ballachulish-Kinlochleven run but her boilers were troublesome and she was sold for scrap in February 1915.



Postcard of Duke of Abercorn, possibly at Southend Pier.






Princess Maud
(Built: 192? - SMNCo: 192?-1940)

Princess Maud of the Southend Motor Navigation Co. She was commandeered by the navy in 1940 and never returned.



Princess Maud photographed at Southend
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Postcard of passengers on Princess Maud
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Southend Excursion Boats - www.simplonpc.co.uk






Julia Freak (Built: 1932- SMNCo: 1932-1940)
New Prince of Wales I (SMNCo: 1945-19??)

The Julia Freak (named after the wife of an early director of SMNCo), and her near-sistership, the Britannia I, were both built by Haywards in a temporary boatyard set-up in what was the Kursaal's coach-park. They were moved from there on trailers, down what is now either Beach Road or Burdett Road, along the Eastern Esplanade to the Corporation Loading Jetty, where they were each launched using the Corporation's largest Crane. was the only SMNCo vessel to be returned after the war. She returned service as the New Prince of Wales I.


Motorised 'Life boat' Julia Freak at Southend-on-Sea.
She was built for the Southend Motor Navigation Co and was commandeered by the navy in 1940. She was returned in 1945,
the only SMNCo vessel to survive the war. Renamed New Prince of Wales I, she worked for a few years more at Southend.
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Photochrome postcard of motorised 'Life boat' San Toy 1 at Southend-on-Sea.
San Toy 1 was built for the Southend Motor Navigation Co and was commandeered
by the navy in 1940, never to return. Julia Freak, also of the SMNCo, in the background.
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Post-war postcard of New Prince of Wales I (ex-Julia Freak)
The vessel in the background is My Queen

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Southend Excursion Boats - www.simplonpc.co.uk






Britannia I
(Built: 1921 - Southend: 1921-1958)

Britannia I ran at Southend from 1921 to 1958 and on the Thames for Thames Motor Boats as Thames Britannia to 1982. She was the first boat of Plymouth Boat Cruises as Plymouth Princess in 1982 She passed to Sound Cruising in 2005 and remained in the fleet in 2007.



Britannia I running at Southend
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Plymouth Princess at Phoenix Wharf in Sound Cruising ownership
Photo: © Graham Thorne , January 2007



Plymouth Princess at Phoenix Wharf in Sound Cruising ownership
Photo: © Graham Thorne, 2006






New Prince of Wales
(Built: 1923 - SMNCo: 1923-1940)

New Prince of Wales is considered to be the first pleasure vessel of more than 100 gross tons to be driven by internal combustion engines - she had two paraffin engines totalling 150hp, made by John L.Thornycroft. (The Royal Lady at Scarborough was the first to be powered by diesels). New Prince of Wales was wooden hulled, and completed by Alec Fowler in Bosham in 1923 for the Southend Motor Navigation Co. She was 104 feet long and 137 gross tons. She was of very shallow draft, being used to perform short cruises from a small jetty near Southend Pier at high tide. New Prince of Wales ran from the end of the pier at low tides.



Postcard of New Prince of Wales
The card was posted in 1937
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Real photo postcard of New Prince of Wales
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Southend Excursion Boats - www.simplonpc.co.uk



Postcard of New Prince of Wales.
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Postcard of New Prince of Wales.
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Postcard of New Prince of Wales.
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Postcard of Southend Britannia (centre) and New Prince of Wales (left) at the pier head, plus smaller boats (right).
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Southend Britannia
(Built: 1924 - Charles & Arthur Myall: 1924-1939)

The arrival of New Prince of Wales led to the completion of competing Southend Britannia for Charles & Arthur Myall the following year, 1924. Southend Britannia was 106 feet long and 147 gross tons - very slightly larger than New Prince of Wales (perhaps deliberately). She had similar paraffin engines by John L.Thornycroft, who also built the hull, with a distinctive slanting stern. Southend Britannia had two funnels, of which the forward was a dummy. Two masts and a prominent bridge gave her an imposing, if slightly ludicrous appearance. Southend Britannia attended the Dunkirk evacuation during the war.
 
After the war she served as Brightlingsea Belle on the Colne, and Western Lady V at Brixham, where she was renowned for her excessive rolling, due to low draught, compared to the Fairmile Western Ladies. From 1960 to 1987 she was owned by Thames Television and moored at Teddington. She was later seen as the Beverley, moored in Docklands and Chelsea, but has probably since been scrapped.


Postcard of Southend Britannia.
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Postcard of Southend Britannia.
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Real photo postcard of Southend Britannia (alternative copy of the card above)
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Southend Excursion Boats - www.simplonpc.co.uk



Postcard of Southend Britannia with enclosed bridge
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Postcard of Southend Britannia with enclosed bridge.
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Postcard of Southend Britannia at the jetty.
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Busy scene of Southend sea-front with Southend Britannia and New Prince of Wales plus 'life boats'.
Publisher: Lansdown Productions
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Postcard of Southend Britannia (centre) and New Prince of Wales (left) at the pier head, plus smaller boats (right).
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Postcard of Western Lady V, ex-Southend Britannia
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ex-Southend Britannia in later years, moored on the Thames.






Dreadnought
(Southend Water Pleasure - Built: 1936)

Dreadnought was built in 1936 as a 60 ft sailing vessel, and continued to work as such after the war, the last sailing excursion vessel at Southend. She carried 120 passengers on short cruises from the jetty adjacent to the pier. She was owned by J.D.Polkinghorn until passing to Southend Water Pleasure c.1987, but was soon sold.



Passengers on a sailing Dreadnought at Southend-on-Sea - an earlier boat of this name?
It can be dated to the First World War years by the serviceman in Royal Flying Corps uniform
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Passengers on the Dreadnought at Southend-on-Sea - an earlier boat of this name?
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Mason's 'Alpha Series' postcard of Dreadnought at the jetty at Southend
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Dreadnought at the jetty at Southend
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New Skylark
(Southend Water Pleasure - Built: 1937)

New Skylark was built in 1937 and was 19 grt. She carried 86 passengers on short cruises from the jetty adjacent to the pier. She was owned by J.W.Brown until passing to Southend Water Pleasure c.1987. In 1993, New Skylark joined the Lady Essex in the fleet of M.Reis. New Skylark remained in service in 2005, then being owned by A.Richards. She was withdrawn soon afterwards, but remains in existence in December 2009 at Leigh-on-Sea having had additional cabins added.



New Skylark and Maid of the Forth (behind) at the Southend jetty, adjacent to the pier.
E.T.W.Dennis postcard S004078L - Photo: S.R.Searle
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New Skylark seen from Southend Pier.
Photo: © Ian Boyle
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New Skylark at the Southend jetty, adjacent to the pier.
John Hinde postcard 2EX 21 - Photo: Philip Fenton



New Skylark at Leigh-on-Sea
Photo: Ian Boyle, 10th December 2009
New Skylark at Leigh-on-Sea - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 10th December 2009



New Skylark at Leigh-on-Sea
Photo: Ian Boyle, 10th December 2009
New Skylark at Leigh-on-Sea - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 10th December 2009






Southend Belle
(Built: 1947 - Southend Belle Cruises: 1947-1958)

Southend Belle was operating for Southend Belle Cruises in 1957. She was 106 feet long with twin screws and engines of 96 hp. She later ran as Westminster Belle, Maid of Wareham and Maid of Exmouth. At Southend Southend Belle was owned by the Foreman family, who also owned My Queen and the Anzios.

In 2004 the Maid of Exmouth joined the fleet of K.J.Bridge of Plymouth and was renamed Devon Belle V. Devon Belle V was still running in 2007, although K.J.Bridge had sold her to B.Squire, whilst remaining as skipper. She is the last surviving independent boat working in Plymouth and sails from their traditional site at West Hoe Steps where Plymouth's pier once stood.



Devon Belle V (ex-Southend Belle) at her mooring in Sutton Harbour
Photo: © Graham Thorne, April 2007
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My Queen

My Queen was built in 1929 and was a Dunkirk veteran. She is believed to have run from Southend in the 1950s/60s. Between 1962-1970 she served with George Wheeler Launches on the Thames. In 1975 she passed to W.Jackson, also on the Thames. My Queen was bought by Dart Pleasure Craft in 1975, and was given a covered cabin in 1982. She was used to take President Mitterand of France on a tour of Dartmouth Harbour in 1984, the 40th Anniversary of D-Day. In 1987 she was in service with G.H.Riddalls & Sons, remaining with them until 2000 when the company was bought by Dart Pleasure Craft, although the acquisition did not include My Queen. After a period of disuse, she re-entered service with B.R.J.Rackley, who operate the Exmouth-Starcross ferry and local excursions. She remained with successors J.& M.Rackley's Exe to Sea Cruises in 2007, by which time My Queen was 76 years old.



Post-war postcard of New Prince of Wales I (ex-Julia Freak)
The vessel in the background is My Queen

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Southend Excursion Boats - www.simplonpc.co.uk



My Queen on the River Dart
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1997






Anzio

Anzio was a Fairmile launch used on Southend-Sheerness services 1959-1960.
 
The Poole and Solent Navigation Company, acquired three Fairmile 'B' motor launches named Anzio, Dunkirk and Matapan in 1948, and ran them from Poole to Swanage and the Isle of Wight. The three vessels were acquired by J.Bolson & Sons in 1952, although Anzio was sold immediately for use in Southend. She was replaced by Anzio I.



Fairmile 'B' motor launch of the Poole and Solent Navigation Company
Photo is captioned Poole, Dorset
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Fairmile 'B' motor launch Anzio
Scan: Chris Wood






Anzio I

Anzio I was originally the David MacBrayne ferry Lochinvar. She operated on Southend-Sheerness services 1960-1963, after which she was laid up on the Thames. A connecting bus service was operated around Sheppey and to Herne Bay, Canterbury and Maidstone. Passengers also had to catch a bus through Sheerness Docks from the coach station to board the vessel. She was due to return to Scotland to run local cruises for Cromarty Cruises in 1966, but was lost with all hands on her delivery voyage in a storm off the Humber on April 3rd, 1966.



Hand bill for the Anzio I (from first season 1960 since it refers to 'Commencing'?)
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Anzio I seen leaving Southend Pier.



Photo of Anzio I.



The wreck of Anzio I.



The wreck of Anzio I.



The wreck of Anzio I.






Duchess M
(Southend Water Pleasure - Built: 1956)

Duchess M operated from Southend to Sheerness for Southend Water Pleasure from c.1997 to 2002. She remains on the Thames running the Tilbury-Gravesend ferry for the Lower Thames & Medway Passenger Boat Co who also operate the Princess Pocahontas on regular cruises to Southend.

Duchess M was built as the Vesta in 1956, one of the last three "traditional" Portsmouth-Gosport ferries (the others were the Ferry Queen (1959) and Vita (1960)). They were all diesel-powered, but otherwise the design had changed little in 80 years. All three remain in service on the Thames, Vesta as the Duchess M on the Tilbury-Gravesend ferry, and Vita & Ferry Queen with City Cruises. Their lives on the Portsmouth-Gosport ferry were fairly short, being replaced by the Gosport Queen and Portsmouth Queen in 1966. The three vessels were retained until the mid-1970s as reserve vessels and for use on seasonal harbour tours.

Vesta was sold to Thames Pleasure Craft in 1974, but was running for Thames Launches by 1977. She passed to Arthur Green as the Duchess M in 1978, and then to D.C & W.Tours in 1981. By 1983 Duchess M was under the Capital Cruises banner. In 1991 she was on the River Tyne running charter cruises for Rolls Royce Limousine Hire, passing to River Tyne Cruises by 1995, when her fleet mates were the Catherine (ex-Tilbury-Gravesend) and Island Scene (ex-Blue Funnel). In 1997 Duchess M was back on the Thames at Southend, running services to Queenborough and Strood, plus local sea cruises. Her running mate was the Maid of the Forth. By 1999, Duchess M was the sole fleet member, and she was sold in 2002 to the Lower Thames & Medway Passenger Boat Co for use on the Tilbury-Gravesend ferry, where she remains in 2006.



Duchess M arriving at Tilbury from Gravesend
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 5th May 2006
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Maid of the Forth
(Built: 1937)

Maid of the Forth operated from Southend for Southend Water Pleasure from c.1997.

She 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 running on the Forth and at Southend before coming to the Fal for the Pill family in 1998 and receiving the name Queen of Falmouth. 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 (behind) and New Skylark at the Southend jetty, adjacent to Southend Pier.
E.T.W.Dennis postcard S004078L - Photo: S.R.Searle
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Queen of Falmouth (ex-Maid of the Forth), as rebuilt in 2004, on the St Mawes Ferry
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008
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Nemo II

Nemo II had previously run at Brightlingsea and Clacton.



Postcard of Nemo II when running at Clacton
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Postcard of Nemo II when running at Clacton, from a jetty by Clacton Pier
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Postcard of Nemo II when running at Clacton
Enlarged image from the card above






Devon Belle II
(Built: 1967 - Southend Water Pleasure:2002-2006)

Devon Belle II was built in 1967. She is 40 feet long and carries 60 passengers. She served as Catriona (Mckenzie Marine, Ullapool: c1993-1999), Royal Princess (Cruise Loch Ness, Fort Augustus: c1999-2002) and Devon Belle II (K.J.Bridge, Plymouth: 2002-2003) before arriving at Southend for Southend Water Pleasure. In 2006 she was at Halcons yard on Canvey Island. In 2007 she sailed for S.Robertson at Oban.


Devon Belle II at Halcon's yard, Canvey Island
Photo: Roger Bolton, May 2003

DEVON BELLE II - Photo:  Roger Bolton






Southend's Visiting Excursion Vessels



The Mermaid
(1891-1914)

An early regular visitor to Southend was the paddle steamer The Mermaid, which was owned by the Victoria Steamboat Association & successors (1891-1910), Rosherville Pier and Steam Packet Company (1911) and F.K.Tucker (1912-1914). Note that Rosherville was an estate of large houses adjacent to Gravesend, built to allow commuting into London when steam boats first became viable. The Mermaid was 160 feet long and 194 gross tons.
 
I have no images at present.






Sheppey Queen
 
The vessel shown on the Southend-Sheerness ferry below has taken some time to identify. A number of people have made suggestions, but I now believe it is the Sheppey Queen - can anyone confirm this? Email: simplon@simplon.co.uk.

The Sheppey Queen was built by the Sittingbourne Boat Building Company in 1946. She ran trips with the Silver Star during the late 1950s early 1960s from Sheerness beach. She then worked on the Clyde working summer excursions from Kilmun, Hunters Quay and Dunoon to Rothesay, Largs, Kyles of Bute, etc. Occasionally on very busy weekends she turned up on the Kilmun-Hunters Quay-Gourock ferry (usually worked by the 40ft Kelvin Launch Sonje Tessa), using Ritchie Bros slipway at the side of Gourock Pier entrance near the pilot station. Her stern power was poor, and she was seen being towed off that slipway by a couple of Ritchie's ferries, the Lady Jane Ritchie and the Port Star. In the 1970s she was on the RG Launches ferry service that took workers to and from the Ford factory at Dagenham. Later she was in private ownership as a yacht. In 2009 she is at Faversham Creek undergoing restoration, the eventual intention being to take her to Ireland. She has a website at:- www.angelicfeast.com/sheppey

Harold Jordan writes:-
The vessel in the postcard Southend-Sheerness ferry is in my opinion the Sheppey Queen which passed to James Ferguson & Sons, Kilmun sometime in the early 1950's. I think Jimmy Ferguson sold her some time around 1960, maybe 1961. I wonder if this postcard is a view of her prior to her time on the Clyde? The funnel and wheelhouse are exactly as she appeared on the Clyde. She worked summer excursions from Kilmun, Hunters Quay and Dunoon to Rothesay, Largs, Kyles of Bute, etc. Occasionally on very busy weekends she turned up on the Kilmun-Hunters Quay-Gourock ferry (usually worked by the 40ft Kelvin Launch Sonje Tessa), using Ritchie Bros. slipway at the side of Gourock Pier entrance near the pilot station. Her stern power was poor, and I have seen her towed off that slipway by a couple of Ritchie's ferries, the Lady Jane Ritchie and the Port Star.

Luke Farley writes:-
I believe that image is of the My Queen (ex-Gondolier Queen). She was built in Essex and used on a ferry in the area, and her hull is very, very similar to the one in the photo. She is also described a the 'Dunkirk Little Ships' website as being almost completely open, with a wheelhouse amidships - and your image seems to fit this description. My Queen is now based at Starcross, although she has also been based on the Thames, at Plymouth and at Dartmouth in the past.

Andy Richards writes:-
I would like to say it is good to see all this information about the boats.
The boat leaving Sheerness is the My Queen.

Roger Bolton writes:-
Further to our conversation on "Waverley" I regret I too am unable to identify the vessel on the Southend-Sheerness ferry route. I don't think it's "My Queen" because (1) I believe she had no wheelhouse whilst at Southend and (2) I think your vessel's freeboard is greater than "My Queen".

John Armstrong writes:-
This vessel is the Trevarno formerly owned by Torbay Cruising. Mrs E Wallis & Mr Head owned and ran her from Torquay around 1950 / 1953. She had new AEC engines installed by my father.



Sheppey Queen the Southend-Sheerness ferry.
Published: Shoesmith & Etheridge 'Norman Series' - Hastings.
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Photo of Sheppey Queen (on the Clyde?)



Sheppey Queen at Faversham
Photo: © Ben Mann
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Sheppey Queen at Faversham
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 26th February 2009
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Sheppey Queen at Faversham
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 28th February 2009
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Sheppey Queen at Faversham
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 28th February 2009
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Sheppey Queen at Faversham
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 28th February 2009
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Sheppey Queen at Faversham
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 28th February 2009
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Swanage Queen
(Meridian Line - Built: 1948)

Swanage Queen was built in 1948 as the Thornwick for cruises from Bridlington. Crosons of Bournemouth acquired the Thornwick in 1968. She could carry 305-335 passengers on Class III/Class IV certificates, and operated trips from Bournemouth to Totland Bay and Yarmouth in the Isle of Wight. Thornwick was extensively refitted before the 1968 season. However, she proved too slow for the Isle of Wight runs, at only 10/11 knots, and Crosons acquired the Coronia from Scarborough. Thornwick was renamed Swanage Queen, and was used on ferry runs from Bournemouth to Swanage Pier. She was withdrawn at the end of the 1969 season, replaced by smaller craft in the Croson fleet, and was sold to Meridian Line in December 1970. Meridian Line were based in Greenwich, and Swanage Queen ran charters from Greenwich and Westminster, and was licensed to travel as far as Southend. She was fitted with additional covered accommodation, which ruined her appearance.

More images of Swanage Queen



Swanage Queen at Southend Pier.
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Swanage Queen at Southend Pier.
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Queen of Kent

Queen of Kent was previously the New Golden Spray, operating short coastal cruises from Ramsgate and Margate in the mid-1970s for M.J.Pett. She had become Queen of Kent for D.Rose of Rochester by 1981, running excursions from Southend and the Medway towns of Rochester, Aylesford, Faversham etc.



Queen of Kent at Leigh-on-Sea in poor condition.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, c.1987
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Queen of Kent at Leigh-on-Sea in poor condition.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, c.1987
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Kingswear Castle
(PSPS: 1985- )

Kingswear Castle (2) was built for the River Dart Steam Boat Company in 1924 using the engines of her predecessor Kingswear Castle (1) of 1904. Her design essentially dates back to the Berry Castle (1) of 1880. Kingswear Castle (2) ran on the Dart until 1965, when she become uneconomic compared to more modern motor vessels. She was eventually sold to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, who restored her on the River Medway for a full return to service in 1985. In her first season frequent sailings were made to and from Southend Pier, but visits are now restricted to a few days each year. Visit www.pskc.freeserve.co.uk for details of Kingswear Castle (2) excursions, including visits to Southend.

Complete history of Kingswear Castle



Kingswear Castle off Southend Pier.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1985.



Kingswear Castle arriving at Southend Pier.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1985.



Kingswear Castle arriving at Southend Pier, with Clyde behind her.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1985.



Kingswear Castle arriving at Southend Pier, with Clyde behind her.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1985.






Clyde
(Invicta Line Cruises: 1985-1992)

Invicta Line Cruises of Chatham began services between Southend and Strood c.1985, using the Clyde and Thames Queen. Thames Queen was sold by Invicta Line in 1987, to be replaced by Clairest in 1989. Invicta Line ceased operations c.1992.

More images of Clyde



Postcard of Clyde - purchased on board.
Published by the World Ship Society (Medway) - Photo: © Stuart Emery
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Clyde at Southend Pier.
Photo: © Ian Boyle.
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Clyde off Southend Pier.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1987.






Princess Pocahontas
(Lower Thames & Medway)

Princess Pocahontas was acquired by the Lower Thames & Medway Passenger Boat Co in 1989, and began regular calls at Southend from her base in Gravesend. She remains in service in 2006. Website: www.princess-pocahontas.com

More images of Princess Pocahontas



Princess Pocahontas off Canvey Island in the River Thames
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1992
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Princess Pocahontas off Canvey Island in the River Thames
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1992
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Princess Pocahontas off Canvey Island in the River Thames
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1992
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Princess Pocahontas off Canvey Island in the River Thames
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1992
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British Queen

I have no information on British Queen photographed here off Southend Pier. She has a Lowestoft fishing registration.



British Queen off Southend Pier
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