Paddle Steamer Picture Gallery


PS Lord Elgin

Builders: Richardson, Duck & Co Stockton on Tees 1876

Propulsion type: Paddle compound diagonal

Owner: John Kidd, Bournemouth & South Coast Steam Packets Ltd, Southampton, Isle of Wight and South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Co Ltd

Service dates: 1876 - 1955

Tonnage: Gross 203


This little steamer was built for service on the Firth of Forth as an excursion steamer in 1876 and was purchased five years later by the Bournemouth & South Coast Steam Packets Ltd, for use out of Bournemouth. It is in this company's colours she is shown here, from a quite rare card, posted on 11 August 1904. The card shows the brightly coloured house flag of the company and reads "Thanks for letter. This is the boat we went to Swanage on. Do you recognise it. Had a letter from S on Sunday. Saw Miss Gee yesterday morning. We are going to the Regatta tomorrow. The Gardens are to be illuminated & there is to be a display of fireworks. With much love from all. Em." Shortly after this card was sent her owners business was acquired by the Southampton, Isle of Wight Company.

She continued sailing from Bournemouth for a while but she was converted for cargo use in 1910. In this guise she sailed from Southampton to Cowes although in the 1930's she was used as a relief car ferry. She regularly used to ferry livestock from the island to the mainland and needed a good hosing down before embarking her passengers and cars for the return journey! She continued to serve the company until 1955 and when she was scrapped she was the last serving paddle cargo steamer on the British Shipping Registry. During her time as a cargo ship she carried all manner of things and she was even known to carry elephants to and from the island when the circus was in town. For a close up picture of her starboard paddle box in 1951 at Cowes, please click here. For more unpublished pictures of Lord Elgin, from some recently discovered glass plate negatives, please click here.

The superb picture below is published for the first time and is displayed by courtesy of Cyril Perrier, whose father took this picture in 1910. This may be one of the last photographs of her in this condition as Lord Elgin was converted for cargo use later in the year.

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