paddlesteamers.info  :  The Internet's leading website for Side-Wheeled Paddle Steamers 


PS Waverley  Built : 1946/47.  Substantially rebuilt : 2000/2003.  Operating Area : Firth of Clyde (high summer) and  UK coast (late summer/autumn)


Above : Waverley leaves her Glasgow berth on the morning of 22nd August 2020 for the first cruise after the replacement of her boilers. She is sailing with a much-reduced passenger capacity following the restrictions pursuant to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Rather than canting (turning using the tension of a mooring rope), Waverley, when in Glasgow, is now generally turned by her own work boat nudging the bow around as seen above. Photo by Kenny Whyte
.

Waverley is owned by the Waverley Steam Navigation Company Ltd (WSN)** on behalf of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS), which aims to preserve the two remaining operational British examples of this type of ship in sailing condition and assist in the preservation of other survivors. The Society has around 2800 members and is a registered charity. It is now almost 50 years since Waverley was retired by its state-controlled operators as obsolete and uneconomic at a time when car ferries had taken over much of the steamer fleet's business. The demand for day sails alone appeared to be falling and the assumed only option was for this last example of a long line of paddle steamers on the Clyde to go to the scrapyard. The ship's owners have managed to defy predictions by maintaining it in service.

Waverley Excursions Ltd (WEL) is the trading subsidiary of WSN and operates a cruise on Waverley most days in the sailing season, for which bridge, deck and catering crew are employed.  A small office staff is contracted throughout the year for essential management, administration and marketing. Whilst Waverley makes a good surplus on its sailing programme, this is generally insufficient to finance the statutory annual dry-docking, maintenance and inspection. Therefore the ship  still requires donations from its many supporters for a proportion of this unavoidable expense as well as for capital programmes and any unforeseen repair bills.

Waverley is probably in better condition now than at any time in its history through continuous investment in its fabric, attentive maintenance of its machinery and in meeting ever tighter regulatory controls. In practice, much of the ship's fabric, except for the hull frames and the main engine parts, dates only from 2000 and 2003 when it was substatially rebuilt in two phases. Whilst sheltered conditions on the Clyde mean that there are few if any disruptions to services there, visits to the Bristol Channel, South Coast, Thames and Irish Sea can be beset with problems if conditions are unfavourable. Nevertheless, a successful programme in these areas provides essential income and it remains an objective of the PSPS to make paddle steamer trips available to as many people as possible around the country.

** Note : All shares are owned under mortgage to the Trustees of the National Heritage Memorial Fund in respect of the lottery grant accepted to finance the major reconstruction of the ship between 2000 and 2003



Above : Waverley at Ilfracombe on the Bristol Channel on 7/6/09 by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte. She has visited this area regularly since 1978

SHIP  SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions : 239 ft 11 in (73.13 m)  long - 57 ft 3 in (17.45 m) maximum breadth - currently around 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) draught

Engines :  Triple expansion, three crank  : 24, 39 and 62 inches (cylinders) x 66 inches (stroke) - by Rankin & Blackmore, Greenock  (View here)

Fuel : Originally coal-burning, she was converted in 1957 to consume fuel oil. In 2019 she was converted to use marine gas oil and uses this in her 2020 boilers
 
Boilers : 1947 - Double-ended Scotch type  
later replaced as follows :  1981 - Babcock Steambloc.    2000 - 2x Cochran Thermax    2020 - 2x Cochran Thermax

Note : Her original boiler is now preserved at the Scottish Maritime Museum at Irvine
 
Speed : On trial she managed 18.37 knots but is limited to 16 by her certification. Normal service speeds generally do not exceed 14 knots

Fuel consumption is around 0.7 tonnes (755 litres) per hour of medium fuel oil at an average 14 knots

693 Gross Registered Tons  
ie capacity calculation, not the actual weight of the ship

Passenger capacity (2014) : maximum 860 (Class V), 800 (Class IV) or 740 (Class III) - 
depending on which category of waters she is sailing in

Waverley's Class III certificate allows sailings with passengers up to 18 miles from the coast and 70 miles from its point of departure (between April 1st and October 31st only). The ship also makes other voyages to position herself around the UK coast, but without passengers for these movements. Class IV/V requires it to remain within more restricted waters (ie estuarine, such as the upper reaches of the Firth of Clyde)

Note : In 1947 the passenger certificate allowed 1350 passengers and until 2013 was 925 in the most protected sailing areas
In 1973 allowable maximums were 1350 (Class V), 967 (Class IV summer), 888 (Class IV winter), 571 (Class III - later improved due to extra inflatables etc added)


Crewing  (2014) : MCA certification requires a minimum of 19 crew (or 15 if sailing with restricted passenger numbers as Class IV/V vessel in restricted waters)

Port of Registry : Glasgow.  IMO Number : 5386954.   Official number : 169494

Builders' Yard No : 1330P  
Note -  this is not a sequential number for A&J Inglis' yard. After takeover by the Harland & Wolff company, the yard operated under its original name, but ships adopted a unified H&W yard number, with the "P" denoting the Pointhouse shipyard, Glasgow as the specific yard involved

HISTORY : KEY DATES 
1946 : Launched 2/10/1946 at builders A&J Inglis, Pointhouse, Glasgow, UK (now the site of the Glasgow Riverside Museum of Transport)
1947 : Entered service primarily on the
London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) Craigendoran (railhead) service to Arrochar at the head of Loch Long
1948 : After railway nationalisation transferred to British Transport Commission ownership and received buff funnels with black tops
1951 : Transferred to the
Caledonian Steam Packet Co, former pre-nationalisation rivals of the LNER and the name adopted for the consolidated fleet.
1951 : Deckhouses were repainted white - but paddleboxes remained, for the time being, black
1957 : Converted in time for the 1957 season to burn oil, replacing coal as fuel.
1959 : Black paddle boxes (LNER/BTC legacy) were painted "Caledonian" white
1960 : Radar fitted
1961 : Welded forward funnel replaced the original stack
1962 : New welded funnel aft fitted - but the rake of each funnel was different, giving an odd appearance from various angles
1965 : Received the "Monastral blue" hull colours of British Rail steamers. The traditional Caledonian funnel colour remained, but with the addition of red lions rampant
1969 : Hull colour reverted to black as the Caledonian Steam Packet Company was taken over by a new state entity, the Scottish Transport |Group
1972 : Black paddle boxes restored. The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society was keen that the ship's status as a paddler was highlighted
1973 : Following the merger of the Caledonian Steam Packet Co into Caledonian-MacBrayne, the funnels were repainted red, with yellow disc and lions retained     
1973 : Withdrawn after the 1973 season

1974 : Sold to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS) forefronted by Douglas McGowan and Terry Sylvester for a token 1 fee
1975 : Re-entered service, owned by Waverley Steam Navigation Co on behalf of PSPS in colours approximating those of the LNER (but with white deckhouses)
1975 : Sailed from Anderston Quay, Glasgow, where WSN also established their offices
1977
: On 28/4/77, left the Clyde for the first time to cruise from Liverpool and Llandudno as it was believed that the ship needed to sail beyond the Clyde to survive
1977 : Faced an uncertain future after running aground on the Gantocks rocks off Dunoon on 15/7/77 and losing six weeks worth of vital revenue
1978 : Sailed from Stobcross Quay (where the ship's offices were also relocated) due to demolition of old offices and warehouses for urban renewal along the Clyde
1978
: Sailings extended to the south of the UK, setting the pattern for future operation
1980 : Cruised to Cap Griz Nez off the French coast on 12/5/80 for 40th anniversary of Dunkirk evacuation - where the LNER lost PS Waverley (of 1899) 
1981 : A new boiler improved operational and economic performance
1981 : Berth and offices relocated to Lancefield Quay as riverside redevelopment progressed
1981 : The ambitious cruise programme involved circumnavigating Great Britain for the first time
1986 : Waverley's home berth reverted to Anderston Quay but the Waverley Excursions office remained at Lancefield Quay
1990 : Sailed to Dunkirk for the 50th anniversary remembrance
1998 : Awarded Heritage Lottery Fund partnership funding for a comprehensive rebuilding 
1999 : Changes to safety legislation delayed the rebuild and Waverley sailed as normal 
2000 : Rebuild contract commenced in earnest in January at the yard of George Prior Engineering of Great Yarmouth. 

- Cost escalation meant that the whole ship could not be attended to at this stage.
- Waverley reappeared for the late summer season in 2000 greatly improved but restored wherever possible to 1947 appearance as required by the funding agency.
- Work included much new hull plating (included riveted plates above the waterline for historical accuracy) and some renewal of frame elements, plus new sponsons.
- New (twin) boilers
- Some internal arrangements such as companionways and saloons, changed over time, retained their modern arrangements albeit with traditional decoration and styling
- Wood-grain effect as per LNER colours replaced the white paint on the deckhouses. N
ew mock riveted funnels fitted (correcting the unequal rake present since 1962).

2002 : Returned to George Prior Engineering in the winter of 2002-03 for the completion of the rebuilding programme (mainly the forward part of the ship).
2004 : Plans for a new bridge over the Clyde would make Anderston Quay inaccesible, so Waverley moved to the south bank at Plantation Quay (at the Science Centre)
2011 : Expensive repairs and lost sailing time led to a national appeal to "Save the Waverley" and a rescuing donation from Euromillions lottery winners, the Weirs
2015 : Appeared without the scumbling (woodgrain effect) on its deck saloons - due to the prohibitive cost of renewing the traditional effect
2019 : Out of service for the whole season due to a defective boiler. Following a nationwide appeal and a major grant from the Scottish Government, two new boilers were ordered
2020 : Boilers replaced. A short delayed Clyde season with much reduced capacity due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions ended following a collision with the Brodick ferry terminal 

DID YOU KNOW ?



Above : Waverley at her home base outside the Science Centre on the south bank of the Clyde in Glasgow (Feb 2016). Picture by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte.
The ship normally sails from here on Fridays, weekends and Monday mornings in the high summer season, with very limited sailings in May and October. Midweek in the high summer Waverley starts her cruises at either Largs, Ayr or Greenock.


Waverley is based in Glasgow and in high summer offers a range of cruises on the Firth of Clyde into areas of magnificent natural beauty and calling at resorts such as Dunoon, Rothesay, Largs and Brodick (click here to see photos of this attractive area). It also spends parts of the year sailing in areas which, many years ago, lost their own paddle steamers, such as the Bristol Channel, the south coast of the UK and the Thames estuary, which are currently served after the main summer season. There is usually a short programme of cruises in the Western Isles prior to the summer season. 

Since 1974 the ship has been owned by a (now) charity (Waverley Steam Navigation Company, "WSN") on behalf of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (itself a charity, click here for more details). Since 1980, operation has been in the hands of Waverley Excursions Ltd, the trading subsidiary of WSN. Home base and winter lay-up location is Pacific Quay, Glasgow, adjacent to the Science Centre and BBC Scotland offices - with an administrative office on the opposite north bank of the Clyde at Lancefield Quay.

Waverley is marketed as the "World's Last Sea-Going Paddle Steamer" to the extent that many cruises now see the ship venture out of protected estuarine waters into what are classed as "sea" by the UK's maritime safety agency and visits to other sailing areas often involve journeys across open seas. It was not until 1977 that Waverley first left the relatively protected waters of her native Firth of Clyde in search of out-of-season business. There are numerous other paddle steamers in the world, but these offer cruises on lakes, rivers and estuaries only although some have on occasion entered coastal waters 

It takes her name from Sir Walter Scott's first novel, the leading character of which was Edward Waverley. Names from Scott's novels were widely used by one of the companies operating on the Clyde for their steamers. There were a number of other paddle steamers named Waverley operating in the UK, although none during the lifetime of this version of Waverley. See the section near the foot of this page for more details.

It is newer than you might think : Although celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2017, little apart from most of its framework and much of the engine remains from the Waverley of 1947. The greatest changes took place between 2000 and 2003 with a substantial rebuild, and although ship maintenance requires on-going replacement of parts, there have been other changes which have changed both its external appearance (albeit only slightly) and internal arrangements (much more substantially). Most noticeable was the difference in the rake of the two funnels after replacement in 1961/2 (lasting until 2001), the removal of the aft lifeboats in favour of other evacuation devices - and one change often overlooked : the replacement of the square windows in the sponsons (which were themselves replaced in 2001) by ports, recovered from the withdrawn Clyde buoy tender "Torch" and fitted in 1978 as a condition imposed by the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) for the ship to undertake visits away from the Clyde.

A few common mis-perceptions:

Dunkirk :
This Waverley was built shortly after the end of the Second World War and was therefore not at the Dunkirk evacuations. Two paddle steamers named Waverley (one renamed Snaefell for wartime purposes) were at Dunkirk. Waverley was lost during the operation whilst "Snaefell" survived, only to be sunk later in the war.
The current Waverley has visited the French coastline off Dunkirk, however, having sailed to take part in commemorative events in 1980 and 1990.

It replaced the Waverley lost at Dunkirk : Strictly speaking, this Waverley did not replace the Waverley sunk at Dunkirk, although built for the same owners, because the company had already decommissioned the old Waverley without any planned replacement at the end of the 1938 season. They had intended to reduce their fleet size. The new ship was needed, however, as another member of the fleet, Marmion, was sunk later in the war and the ageing Lucy Ashton, which had maintained services on the Clyde during hostilities, urgently needed replacing. 

Waverley around Britain : This Waverley remained on the Clyde and never visited other parts of the UK coastline until 1977. Since then it has made short visits to other areas (particularly those where there were once local paddle steamers) outside of the main Firth of Clyde summer season.
Many people remember paddle steamers on the Bristol Channel. The era ended in 1967 when Campbell's two remaining paddlers, Bristol Queen and Cardiff Queen were withdrawn. Both, but Cardiff Queen in particular, bore a reasonable resemblance to the Clyde's Waverley, being contemporaries and the latter built at the nearby Glasgow shipyard, Fairfield's. Waverley first visited the Bristol Channel in 1979



WHAT IS IT LIKE ABOARD WAVERLEY ?

Step aboard Waverley.JPG

Click here  to step aboard Waverley and go into the deck saloons and below deck, where you can see the restaurant, the bar, the souvenir kiosk and the steam engines.


WHAT IS IT LIKE ON A WAVERLEY CRUISE ?


Join three cruises from the 2013 season and see what it is like from a passenger's perspective (Photos and text by webmaster Gordon Stewart) :

Clevedon and Penarth to Minehead on June 5th

Helensburgh to Tighnabruaich on July 20th

Largs to Campbeltown on July 21st


WAVERLEY IN PICTURES

WAVERLEY'S OPENING SEASON - WITH THE L&NER RAILWAY


Waverley 1947 Alan Brown and GF.jpg

Waverley's first season - 1947 and also her last under LNER ownership.  Waverley now sails in almost exactly the same livery with these colours chosen by Waverley Steam Navigation Company to reflect her history and continue memories of a much-loved fleet. She sailed on the company's ferry routes from Craigendoran to Dunoon and Rothesay, but also to Arrochar at the head of Loch Long.
Photo by Alan Brown, shown by kind courtesy of Gillon Ferguson.


NATIONALISATION THEN INTEGRATION INTO THE CALEDONIAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY

Waverley heads down Firth from Gourock in April 1969 in a photo by Gordon Stewart. This was the last season when the Clyde had more than one paddle steamer. Caledonia was paid off as the decade drew to a close. Turbine steamer Duchess of Hamilton followed shortly afterwards. The introduction of car ferries in 1954 began the changes which were to lead to the reduction in passenger-only vessels 

Click here for more of Waverley in her CSP days


CALEDONIAN MACBRAYNE : A NEW MERGER IN 1970 AND NEW FUNNEL COLOURS IN 1973

Following the merging of the Caledonian Steam Packet Company and David MacBrayne, Waverley sailed for one season (1973) in new colours. It was a problematic season and the costly and unreliable paddler was paid off by the state-controlled company after only one summer. The company retained two older passenger turbine steamers - Queen Mary for work on the Clyde and King George V for excursions out of Oban - for the time being. No longer required as ferries, the passenger ships' business was primarily excursion traffic and this was now in severe decline.  Photo by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte.  

Click here for more of Waverley apparently ending her career in Cal-Mac colours


WAVERLEY : SAILING FOR THE WAVERLEY STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY

Although most people thought the ship's life once reactivated in 1975 by preservationists acting in the interests of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society would be short, that was to be far from the truth. Waverley embarked on the most remarkable stage of her career, surpassing everything it had done before. She left the Clyde for the first time in 1977 testing the water in North Wales and then embarking on extensive tours around the British coastline and also across to Ireland. Her "commercial" service had lasted only 27 seasons. By the end of 2018, she had completed 44 seasons in operational preservation 

Waverley Rothesay 1975 KW,jpg.jpg


Above :  Waverley leaving Rothesay in the wake of Queen Mary II in 1975, its first season back after leaving the Cal-Mac fleet. Photo by Kenny Whyte


PHOTOS BY GORDON STEWART

Gordon Stewart has photographed Waverley on a number of occasions over the years for the paddlesteamers.info photo archive as listed below :
Links to full sets presented in smaller-sized format (1975-2009). Later series shown below. Gordon Stewart has decided not to make photographs of Waverley after 2013 due to the proliferation of photos posted on internet sites by other photographers.

1975 : At Glasgow
1987 : At Newport

1988 : At Penarth, Bristol and Portishead
1988 : At London
1989 : At Largs, Brodick and Dunoon
1992 : At Penarth, Lynmouth (for ferry to the shore) and Ilfracombe
1993 : At Helensburgh, Dunoon, Rothesay, Millport and Tighnabruaich
1994 : At Penarth and Ilfracombe
1996 : At Minehead and Penarth
1997 : At Newport and Ilfracombe
1998 : At Minehead
1998 : At Helensburgh, Largs and Tighnabruaich
1999 : At Newport and Ilfracombe
2000 : At Greenock
2001 : At Penarth and Clevedon and cruising Steep & Flat Holm, plus extensive on-board photography
2002 : At Newport and Ilfracombe
2003 : At Lochranza
2004 : At Penarth and Ilfracombe
2004 : At Tarbert and Largs
2005 : At Ayr and Blairmore
2009 : At Penarth and aboard for a cruise around the Holm Islands

2011 : Cruise from Penarth to Minehead, photos at Minehead and Penarth 13 06 11
2011 : Cruise from Largs to Rothesay and Greenock on 11 07 11
2012 : Waverley at Tarbert
2013 : Bristol Channel cruise from Clevedon and Penarth to Minehead on 05 06 13
2013 : Sailing from Helensburgh to Tighnabruaich on 20 07 13
2013 : Sailing from Largs to Campbeltown on 21 07 13


WAVERLEY IN THE 1990s by Phil Barnes, featuring in particular the south of England

As well as the Firth of Clyde, Waverley affords the opportunity to see various parts of the UK coastline which were once familiar to paddle steamer customers. Here Waverley approaches Swanage pier with the limestone cliffs of this part of the south coast providing a magnificent backdrop. This photo dates from 1996 and was taken by Phil Barnes. 

Click here for more of Waverley at Swanage by Phil Barnes
South Coast : 1990 to 1993 by Phil Barnes
Weymouth : 4th September 1994 by Phil Barnes
London : 6th October 1994 by Phil Barnes
Ayr : 11th August 1999 by Phil Barnes


WAVERLEY IN 2011 by Kenny Whyte


Waverley Portsmouth 2011 KW.jpg

Above : Waverley enters Portmouth harbour in 2011 in a photo kindly supplied by Kenny Whyte
Click here for more from 2011 by Kenny Whyte 


WAVERLEY IN 2012 by Kenny Whyte


Waverley's pre-season preparations at Greenock
Highlights of the early part of her 2012 Scottish season including the Western Isles
PSPS/CRSC charter of Waverley and The Second Snark to Ormidale on July 8th 2012
Waverley meeting Cunard's Queen Elizabeth at Greenock on August 2nd 2012
Waverley passing MV Isle of Arran at Ardrossan and calling at Girvan


WAVERLEY IN 2013 by Kenny Whyte

A selection of photos from the Clyde summer season


WAVERLEY IN 2014 by Kenny Whyte



See why Waverley began making calls again at this long-abandoned Clyde pier (above, in a photo by Kenny Whyte) and see how it sailed to Liverpool - but was unable to tie up at Llandudno despite a close approach ............ and more. Click here

It is not intended to post further photographs of Waverley due to the large amount of photographic material posted on the internet and on social media


PUBLISHED SAILING BROCHURE ARCHIVE

Please note that these were published in advance of the said sailing season and actual cruises undertaken might have been different due to a range of circumstances. Certain parts of the programme may have been cancelled due to weather conditions or vessel breakdown


Firth of Clyde - 2013
South Coast and Thames Estuary - 2013
Bristol Channel - 2013


Firth of Clyde and Western Isles - 2014 (issue dated 9th April 2014)
Liverpool and area - 2014
 
Bristol Channel - 2014 
South Coast and Thames Estuary - 2014


Scotland 2015   
Liverpool & N Wales 2015  
Bristol Channel 2015  
South Coast 2015   
Thames 2015


Scotland 2016
Liverpool & N Wales 2016
Bristol Channel 2016
South Coast 2016      

Thames 2016


SAILING AREAS - 2017

Clyde : May 26 - May 29. Transit to Oban May 30
Oban & Area : May 31 - June 5
Clyde : June 16 - Aug 27
Liverpool & Llandudno : Aug 29 - Aug 30  (cancelled due to Waverley undergoing repairs to a damaged bow)
Bristol Channel : Sept 1 - Sept 5  
(cancelled due to Waverley undergoing repairs to a damaged bow)
South Coast : Sept 8 - Sept 21
Thames & South East : Sept 22 - Oct 8
Clyde : Oct 14 - Oct 15 (cancelled as poor sailing conditions meant that Waverley could not return in time to undertake these cruises)

SAILING AREAS - 2018
Clyde : May 25 - May 28 with transit to Oban on May 29
Inner Hebrides : May 30 - June 4 with transit back to Clyde on June 5
Clyde : June 22 - Aug 26
Liverpool & Llandudno : Aug 28 - 29  (First Liverpool call missed due to expected late arrival. Cruise commenced at Llandudno) 
Bristol Channel : Aug 31 - Sept 5
South Coast : Sept 7 - 20 (mostly cancelled or severely restricted cruises due to weather and sea conditions)
Thames : Sept 21 - Oct 7
Clyde : Oct 13-14

2019 SEASON : No sailings took place due to faults found with the boilers during pre-season inspection. An appeal was launched to raise 2.3 million for replacements

SAILING AREAS - 2020  
Clyde : Aug 21 - Sept 6    (Season actually ran Aug 22 - Sept 3)

Note : Season delayed due to the Covid pandemic. Cruises operated from 22nd August to 3rd September only. The first planned sailing was cancelled due to delays obtaining the necessary passenger certificates. The season had originally been scheduled to end on 6th September but planned cruises were later scheduled up until to 12th September. The actual sailing season was terminated in the afternoon of 3rd September following an accident at Brodick pier. Passengers were returned to Largs/Greenock by Cal-Mac ferry and coach.




 WAVERLEY : Other paddle steamers with the same name


See also the following British excursion paddle steamers named Waverley :

Waverley (1885-1921)
Waverley (1889-1940)
Waverley (1907-1941 ex - Barry)

Waverley derives her name from the novel written by Sir Walter Scott and published in 1814. This and a number of subsequent novels, originally published anonymously, became known as the Waverley novels as they were originally accredited to the writer of "Waverley". Book titles and characters from these books were adopted as names for ships built for the North British Railway Company's Clyde services (operated by the North British Steam Packet Company), beginning in 1866 with "Meg Merrilies" and "Dandie Dinmont", both characters in the second Waverley novel, Guy Mannering (which also became a ship's name in the NB fleet). 

Waverley itself is an English name and is now an administrative division of the county of Surrey and an ancient parish in which a monastery was founded in 1128, the ruins of which remain. Stone from the dissolved abbey was used in the construction of Waverley House, a stately home close to the ruins, which was visited on several occasions by Sir Walter Scott. The hero of Scott's novel, from the south of England, was called Edward Waverley, perhaps inspired by the Surrey house although there appears to be no link between the fictional Waverley and the family of Scott's hosts. The novel is, however, widely regarded as the first of the historical novel genre, basing its fictional romantic story amongst the tumultuous events of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745.

Waverley had been used as a name before it became familiar on Clyde ferries. Various sailing ships had been named Waverley. The North British Railway had a paddle steamer Waverley built in 1865 for its Irish Sea connection between Silloth in Cumbria and Dublin. It was not until 1899 that Waverley was used by the North British for Clyde service, by which time the name had already been used for another Clyde steamer. This was in 1885 and for Captain Bob Campbell's Kilmun ferry trade. Found too large for the run she was chartered to a Bristol-based consortium in 1887 and credited with showing that a steamboat service could be operated successfully in that area. When the Campbell business (now run by the retired Bob's two sons) was moved to Bristol in 1889, Waverley became the first ship in what was to become the famous P&A Campbell "White Funnel" fleet. The name was to be given to a later Campbell ship, the former PS Barry, taken over from the Barry Railway Company in 1922. The original Waverley had survived World War I but found to be in no state to be re-commissioned and had been scrapped in 1921. Neither of the two Waverleys survived World War II. The Scottish ship was lost at the beaches of Dunkirk and Campbell's ship was bombed and sunk off Sunderland a little over one year later.  

The current Waverley took the name of the Dunkirk victim although strictly speaking, she was a relacement for "Marmion" which was also lost during the war (the Waverley of 1899 having already been withdrawn from the fleet, with no plans in place for her to be replaced). The name disappeared from the Bristol Channel and South Coast ................ until it was seen once again in what have now become regular visits by the Clyde's Waverley.


Waverley Gantocks 280611 KW.jpg

A remarkable survivor : Waverley passes the Gantocks rocks off Dunoon on 28th June 2011 in a photo kindly supplied by Kenny Whyte. Almost 34 years earlier Waverley grounded on these rocks in an incident which brought an end to the third season of "preservation" and almost brought an end to the whole project. Even though the ship returned the following season despite the scepticism of many, very few would have been confident that Waverley would survive much longer



Above : With Waverley receiving new boilers in 2020, it should be noted that this is the third reboilering of her career. Her first boiler was a single, double-ended, Scotch-type boiler which lasted from 1947 until the end of the 1980 season. It has been preserved at the Scottish Maritime Museum at Irvine. It is seen, above, in 2019


External Internet Links


Waverley Excursions - Official Website - includes timetables and fares, on-line booking, departure point notes and the official presentation of the vessel



Return to other areas of the paddlesteamers.info database relating to Waverley
PSPS (Paddle Steamer Preservation Society) : owners of Waverley
Operational Paddle Steamer List
: European paddlers still in service and notes on other paddlers worldwide

British Paddle Steamer Index : British paddle steamers of the past and present
paddlesteamers.info : Main Menu

Owners of Waverley over the years : their histories and vessels

LNER (London and North Eastern Railway)
BTC (British Transport Commission)
Caledonian Steam Packet Co
Caledonian-MacBrayne  
PSPS (Paddle Steamer Preservation Society)

Operating Areas in the UK - history of operations, operators and vessels in the areas Waverley now serves

Firth of Clyde : Waverley's home base
River Thames
Bristol Channel

There are many books about Waverley - here is a range of the most important


Waverley Steam Navigation Company
Compilers - Alistair Deayton and Iain Quinn
Published 2014 by Amberley Publishing
ISBN - 978-14456-4155-3
The definitive detailed history of Waverley Steam Navigation Company from 1974 until 2000 with sections written by many of the main players involved in the ship's remarkable survival


Waverley - the Golden Jubilee
Various Contributors
Published 1997 by Waverley Excursions Ltd and Allan T Condie Publications
ISBN 1-85638-025-4 (Hardback) or 1-85638-026-2 (Softback)
The definitive up-to-date and copiously illustrated history, by those involved in the ship's operation and preservation

Waverley - the Golden Jubilee (see above) builds on the long-running Waverley-The Story of the World's Last Sea-Going Paddler, complied by Fraser McHaffie, later assisted by Joe McKendrick and Leslie Brown, first issued in 1976 and reissued with updated text and new photographs up to and including a 7th edition in June 1994 (IBSN 0-9505177-7-1).
P.S. Waverley - Last in the World
Richard H. Coton
Published in 1973 by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society
Issued by the PSPS shortly before the announcement of Waverley's "official" withdrawal from service

Birth of a Legend
Compiled by Eric Armstrong, Leslie Brown, Joe McKendrick and Clem Robb
Published in 1987 by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (Scottish Branch)
ISBN 0-9505177-4-7
Extensive photo coverage of the construction, launch , fitting out and first season of Waverley

Waverley - A Legend Reborn
Compiled by Stuart cameron and Joe McKendrick
Published in 2000 by Waverley Excursions Ltd
ISBN  0 9505177 8 X
Full colour photographs with extensive captions charting the first phase of the "Heritage Rebuild"


Acknowledgements : All text by Gordon Stewart. All photos by Gordon Stewart unless otherwise acknowledged. Please do not use photos without permission


Above : A sight that most people thought would never happen. Paddle steamer Waverley opens its short pre-summer season on May 27th, 2016 and steams close by James Watt Dock before calling at Custom House Quay, Greenock. Kenny Whyte was able to capture the two last Clyde steamers almost reunited once again following the recent return under tow of TS Queen Mary to the Clyde. Waverley's former fleet-mate, withdrawn in 1977 and laid-up in Greenock until 1981, will be used as a static attraction in Glasgow after being refurbished.


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