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Thames Estuary, River Medway, Kent, Essex and East Anglia Coast, England, U.K.
Victoria Steamboat Association / Palace Steamers Ltd
Established in February 1888 to take over the assets of the failed River Thames Steamboat Company as a loose association of business interests operating its vessels as separate subsidiaries, most likely in an attempt to avoid the financial problems of its predecessors. Palace Steamers Ltd was the best known of these subsidiaries.

The Association set about modernising the fleet and scrapped a number of older vessels. Their first move was to purchase the paddler Lord of the Isles. Although 12 years old, this vessel had been operated on the prestige Glasgow - Inveraray route in Scotland and was extremely well appointed, with spacious fore and aft saloons on the main deck. It set new standards for the Thames and set the Association and its competitor on the Clacton route into an intense frenzy of vessel purchasing. The Association introduced the enormous PS Koh-in-Noor in 1892 and a sister ship, PS Royal Sovereign a year later. In 1894 PS La Marguerite, the second largest coastal paddler ever operated in the UK and a great favourite on the Kent coast and cross-channel routes to France joined the fleet.

The cost of these vessels and their enormous appetite for coal, especially in the case of La Marguerite, led inevitably to financial problems and the three newer vessels which had been supplied by the Govan shipbuilders Fairfield under mortgage reverted to their builders after the 1894 season.

The three ships were operated by Fairfields as New Palace Steamers Ltd, whilst the Association struggled on with a limited service undertaken by its three remaining older vessels until they were sold at the end of 1896. The Association was left with a small fleet of small vessels used on up-river services in London

Vessels taken over from the River Thames Steamboat Co
Queen of the Orwell / Fairy Queen
Queen of the Thames
Duke of Connaught
Duke of Cambridge
Duke of Teck
Duke of Edinburgh
Albert Edward
Vale of Clwyd
Glen Rosa

New Build
Royal Sovereign
La Marguerite

Vessels Purchased
Lord of the Isles

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River Thames Historical