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  • Andy Vincent

Purbeck Railway Circle February Meeting

Our next meeting is on Friday 14th February, when Brian Jackson will deliver a presentation entitled "Paddling across the Bay: Paddle Steamers sailing from Bournemouth and Swanage”.

One hundred and fifty nine years ago this coming September both Swanage and Bournemouth piers were opened to paddle steamer excursions, and over the years a number of well-remembered  vessels regularly called including; Premier, Empress, Victoria, Monarch, Balmoral, Lorna Doone, Majestic, Bournemouth Queen, Embassy and many others.

The Balmoral and Majestic were fast steamers making the long excursions to both the east and west and across the Channel to Cherbourg and the Channel Islands. This February will also be the 70th anniversary of the departure of Monarch to the breakers, built in 1888 she spent her entire life (wars excepted) serving both Bournemouth and Swanage, prior to the first World War often making cross channel sailings. She served in both wars and finished her career on the Bournemouth-Swanage ferry service being withdrawn at the end of the 1949 season.

Before the First World War the Solent was only second to the Clyde for the amount and variety of sailings on offer. Today the Waverley is the sole survivor of a once proud tradition.

The Circle meets in Harmans Cross Village Hall, Haycrafts Lane, Harmans Cross at 7.00 for 7.30 pm. Tea/coffee/biscuits and a Railway orientated raffle will be provided as usual


Photo credit: Monarch moored alongside the new Swanage Pier opened in 1896, a classic view of the Victorian period of a classic paddle steamer. Photograph Brian Jackson Collection.

For further information regarding this presentation and/or the PRC please contact the PRC Chairman at:

e-mail: or visit our website:


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