Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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PS Kingswear Castle

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The PS Kingswear Castle is a coal-fired river paddle steamer, dating from 1924 with engines from 1904. She now runs summer excursions on the River Medway and the Thames.

Kingswear Castle is listed on the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection of ships of "Pre-eminent National Significance".

The Kingswear Castle was built by Philip and Sons of Dartmouth in 1924 for the Great Western Railway for service on the River Dart, following sister ships PS Compton Castle and PS Totnes Castle, and was operated by the River Dart Steamboat Co. Her predecessor of the same name from 1904 is now a rotted and barely recognisable hulk in the River Dart, but the engines were re-used in the current steamboat.

The Kingswear Castle was chartered to the United States Navy during World War II, and was used for carrying stores and personnel at Dartmouth.

In 1965 Kingswear Castle was withdrawn from service and became the first purchase of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS) two years later. After various difficulties and a great deal of restoration work she was brought into service again in 1985, and is now operated by The Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust based at Chatham Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent, in association with the PSPS. The PSPS also has a subsidiary Waverley Excursions operating the PS Waverley and the MV Balmoral.


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