Yet another ship from my long gone Ships Monthly collection, PS Waverley is another ship from a different age. She does not call Southampton her home, but this past weekend she was doing a series of local coastal cruises from our harbour. Berthed at 104E she is not accessible without having to go through the dockgates and having a valid piece of paper as a ticket. She is barely visible from Town Quay, and unless you knew she was there you would have missed seeing her.
I was working on this particular morning, so decided to head out a bit earlier to get photographs of her 10am sailing. As a steamship I was hoping that she would at least use her whistle, but all I saw was a puff of smoke and she started to back away from the quayside at the appointed time. I don’t know how maneuverable she is, those twin paddle wheels may give her the ability to rotate about her axis.
Like Shieldhall, she is a real ship. There are no balcony cabins or chrome and glass, instead she was built to ply her trade, and as such is the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world.
She is rated to carry over 925 passengers in “Class V waters”, and, given her popularity is probably very crowded when full.
She is actually quite sleek and has very nice lines, and the paddle boxes blend in quite well with her hull. I could not really judge how full she was though, because she does seem to have quite a large saloon below deck. Then she was past me and heading away from my position at Town Quay, moving quite quickly and in a very businesslike fashion.
I wouldn’t mind having a closer look at her, as she is in Southampton from 6 till 26 September, I may have to make a plan over a weekend before it is too late though. It is just a pity she was not berthed closer to Town Quay, preferably where she could be enjoyed by everybody. Had they berthed her in front of Shieldhall there would have been a unique opportunity to have three of the National Historic Fleet Core Collection (Calshot, Shieldhall, Waverley) all together at one berth, and with a bit of pushing and shoving Challenge could have joined in too.
I think it is things like this that I enjoy the most about Southampton. Every now and then it springs a surprise, and Waverley was definitely one of the many I have had since arriving here in April.
At some point Waverley started to sail from berth 49 and on the 21st I was able to see her alongside from a bit closer. Sadly though, the weather was grey and gloomy so it was not great photography at all. However, I did manage one image which is what I was after originally. From left to right: Calshot, Calshot Spit Light vessel, Waverley and Shieldhall. Arcadia in the background.
I will see how things go tomorrow and if able will try get to her at the berth, I am very curious about having a look at her from close up. Unfortunately I did not get to her berth, but I did pick her up while I was waiting for an early morning arrival.
DRW © 2013-2022. Images recreated 11/04/2016