Part 4: The Golden Years
Due to the loss of many paddle steamers during World War I, it was not until 1923 that P & A Campbell were able to commence operations again from Brighton. In preparation for this Campbell’s ordered a new paddle steamer from the Ailsa Shipbuilding Co., Troon, in Scotland. This vessel, named Glen Gower, was built using engines from an earlier paddle steamer, the P.S. Albion.
More paddle steamers after World War I
Other paddle steamers which were operated by P & A Campbell after the first World War included Ravenswood, built in 1891, Devonia, built in 1905 and Waverley II, built in 1907. Two further steamers carrying the name Brighton were also used, P.S. Brighton Belle, originally named Lady Evelyn was built in 1900, while P.S. Brighton Queen II, operated cruises from Brighton between 1933 and 1939. All these steamers formed the White Funnel Fleet of P & A Campbell.
Cruises to a variety of destinations
A glance at any P & A Campbell timetable will show cruises to a variety of destinations, the majority to seaside resorts which had a pier providing landing facilities. Examples would be Sandown and Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, the Sussex resorts of Worthing, Eastbourne and Hastings, and there were also cruises to Boulogne in France.
The looming threat of World War II
With the threat of World War II looming on the horizon, plans by the Admiralty were being prepared to requisition paddle steamers for minesweeping and other duties. The most significant role played by these vessels during the war was the evacuation of troops from the Dunkirk beaches in 1940, when many P & A Campbell steamers were lost due to enemy action.