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Paddle Steamer “Ryde Queen”

This poor abandoned ship is steeped in history. She was built in 1937 for the Southern Railway Company, weighed some 566 tonnes and was finished to a very high standard. She had a promenade deck with observation lounge and a large saloon, restaurant, tea room, smoking room and Ladies' room on the main deck. She operated an all-year round service between Portsmouth and Ryde on the the Isle of Wight before the outbreak of World War II. During the war she served first as a minesweeper, was converted into an anti-aircraft vessel and took part in the Normandy Landings in June of 1944 and was returned to her normal passenger service after the war in 1945. She was eventually replaced by more modern motor vessels but still operated occasionally as a relief vessel. I can remember as a young child the excitement, if when we travelled to the mainland we were fortunate enough to sail on the PS Ryde which was then the last Paddle Steamer working on the Solent.

This poor abandoned ship is steeped in history. She was built in 1937 for the Southern Railway Company, weighed some 566 tonnes and was finished to a very high standard. She had a promenade deck with observation lounge and a large saloon, restaurant, tea room, smoking room and Ladies’ room on the main deck. She operated an all-year round service between Portsmouth and Ryde on the the Isle of Wight before the outbreak of World War II. During the war she served first as a minesweeper, was converted into an anti-aircraft vessel and took part in the Normandy Landings in June of 1944 and was returned to her normal passenger service after the war in 1945. She was eventually replaced by more modern motor vessels but still operated occasionally as a relief vessel. I can remember as a young child the excitement, if when we travelled to the mainland we were fortunate enough to sail on the PS Ryde which was then the last Paddle Steamer working on the Solent.

She was finally retired from service in 1969 and spent a week on charter on the River Thames in London in September of that year offering short river cruises. After that she was moved to her final resting place, a mud berth at Binfield Marina near Newport on the Isle of Wight where she became the home of a nightclub in the early 1970s. I never went to the club myself but I often heard people refer to drunken nights out on "The Boat’, as it was (and still is) affectionately known. There was a fire on board in 1977 and the club closed. Since then she has passed through several changes of ownership and although many of the owners have intended to restore her to her previous glorious state, the sad truth is that over the years she has become more and more dilapidated and has now gone past the point where she could be fixed. I took my photographs in November 2004 and since then she has rusted even more and last winter during a severe storm her funnel collapsed. If you take a walk along the River Medina to Binfield Marina you can still see the ship in her rusting, abandoned state, but nevertheless there is still something very "majestic’ about the sight of her quietly crumbling away on the river side.

http://www.theheritagetrail.co.uk/maritime/ps%20ryde%20queen.htm

written by janette

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