Part 2: The early years
Pleasure steamers commenced operating from Brighton in 1878, when P.S. Brighton, a wooden steamer, was built for Mr. W.S. Gardner. This steamer was later purchased by Captain J. Lee in 1887 for £1,500. Later still Captain Lee was appointed Managing Director of the Brighton, Worthing and South Coast Steamboat Company, which was formed in January 1891.
Brighton Company paddle steamers
In 1893, the Brighton Company purchased P.S. Princess May, which was built of steel and had a single funnel. Further paddle steamers were acquired by the Brighton Company including P.S. Brighton Queen a splendid ship, 603 gross tons powered by a 2 cylinder compound diagonal engine. These vessels together with vessels from the Hastings, St. Leonards & Eastbourne Steamboat Co. Ltd. operated many excursions from Brighton at the turn of the 20th century.
Nine steamers at the West Pier
In the Brighton Herald dated Thursday July 28th 1898 it was reported that nine steamers were alongside the substantial landing stage at the West Pier. It should be emphasised that this was the only pier available at the time because the Chain Pier had been destroyed in a storm in 1896, and the new Palace Pier did not open until 1899.