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Gallery of old photos

Brighton Queen Paddle Steamer, c. 1900
Image reproduced with kind permission from Brighton and Hove in Pictures by Brighton and Hove City Council
Brighton Queen Paddle Steamer, 1906
Image reproduced with kind permission from Brighton and Hove in Pictures by Brighton and Hove City Council
Balmoral at West Pier, 1933
Image reproduced with kind permission from Brighton and Hove in Pictures by Brighton and Hove City Council

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  • Hello Robin, Very interesting to come across your item on paddle steamers beause I have memories of being taken by my parents on one of the ‘No Passport’ day trips to France on the PS Glen Gower in 1955 or 1956 (when I was 12/13 years old). Perhaps you would be kind enough to confirm some details for me as I remember them. We boarded the vessel at Eastbourne pier in the morning and then I seem to recollect we called at Hastings pier to pick up some more passengers before making the Channel crossing to Boulogne. Here we were met by a coach which took us to Le Touquet, calling at a War Cemetery on the way back to Boulogne. We left Boulogne late afternoon as I recollect and I have an old black and white photo taken on deck before leaving. I also have a postcard of the Glen Gower taken at sea somewhere. I seem to recollect also that if the weather was too bad on the return trip for the ship to tie up at Eastbourne pier it went to Newhaven and the passengers were brought back by bus. Was the vessel bunkered at Newhaven because I am sure I saw it being ‘coaled’ there when I was at Newhaven on another occasion? Also, like you, I came across paddle steamers in Scotland when on holiday with my parents at Dunoon. This time I don’t remember the vessel involved but we went on a trip from Dunoon around Bute calling at Tignabruich (and possibly elsewhere). I do remember being far more interested and fascinated by watching the action of the steam engine, which as you say was clearly visible below deck, than I was in observing the Scottish scenery. To finish I will just relate an interesting incident from a paddle steamer trip (could it have been to the Isle of Wight?). As a result of leaning over the side closely observing the action of the paddles, I got soaking wet as the vessel rolled and the paddles came partially out of the water. Fearing this would get me into trouble with my parents, I went and stood by an open doorway from whence was coming some hot air from the boiler room, which I hoped might dry me out. Unfortunately it didn’t and to make matters worse I now had black coal dust stuck to my wet clothes from trying to see what was going on in the boiler room so I probably got quite a telling off from Ma and Pa that day ! PS I almost forgot – a few weeks ago, by a most amazing coincidence, I was enjoying an evening stroll along Bournemouth pier when the ‘Waverley’ suddenly appeared, making a short call before continuing to Southampton. Isn’t that incredible – I had no idea it was due to call there – I was actually in the area en route to the Great Dorset Steam Fair the next day!

    By Glyn Roberts (27/09/2004)
  • The Glen Gower ran ‘no-passport’ trips to Boulogne in 1955 and 1956. In 1955, passengers were taken from Newhaven and Eastbourne only but in 1956 they were allowed to embark at Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings. Newhaven was always the ship’s overnight base and it was where she was coaled – there would be no way of loading coal at any of the seaside piers. The picture is of the Brighton Queen which operated these trips before the First World War. She was lost in that war, and another Brighton Queen (easily distinguished by having square windows rather than round portholes) ran in the 1930s; she was lost during the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940.

    By Geoff Hamer (22/02/2005)
  • Hi..just found this site ..It reminded me of the day 1st September 1939 when I was evacuated form the Surrey Dock area of London (which was a big target area for the German bombers). We were sent to Brighton and I lived with a lady who owned the confectionary shop in Upper North Street. Her name was Floe Heaton. She and her sister took 9 of us in and looked after us very well too. Then I was moved to Nell Robbins and lived in Russell Street near the Brewery and old skating rink. We spent a lot of time on the West Pier as you got on that one free but had to pay to go on the Palace Pier. We shared the school with the local children; they went in the morning and we went in the afternoon and we all changed over the next week and so on. The time we were not in the school was spent on the beach or Waxworks Museums – anywhere we could get in that was warm and dry as by now winter was getting near. If anyone remembers these times and wants to email me they are very welcome to

    By Bill Starling (09/09/2005)
  • I recall in the late 40s early 50s catching PS Glengower at Brighton Palace Pierhead which then had two tiers for the tidal difference. We took the final trip of the day to Newhaven then caught the Southdown bus back to Brighton. That was only about 2 bob. Later Campbells introduced a smaller motor vessel that shared duties with Glengower. Incidentally, in the 90s I saw a model of Glengower in the building next to Brunel’s Great Britain in Bristol Docks. Campbells had an office in the Steine.

    By John Snelling (02/02/2013)
  • Hi Robin. I am really pleased you have sent me all the information on Paddle Steamers around Brighton in the 1950s. I have been trying to get the info for some years, researching through books and libraries.

    It was only when I came down to Brighton last weekend, when I picked up a leaflet on Sussex Past, and thought I will try again.

    I came down to Eastbourne back in the 1952 on my own age 10 years by train from Birmingham to stay with a boy of the same age with his parents. The boy’s Father took us on a Paddle Steamer which was going to The Isle Wight, we got off at Brighton, but his father stayed on so he could drink all day while the boat sailing.

    But at the age of 10 I did not think about getting the name of the steamer!  Many thanks for sending all the info.

    Kind Regards, Gerald 

    By Gerald Rowley (30/01/2018)

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