Paddle Steamer Picture Gallery


PS Lord of the Isles (I) (later Jupiter, later Lady of the Isles)

Builders: D & W Henderson, Partick 1877

Propulsion type: Paddle, diagonal oscillating.

Owners: Glasgow & Inverary Steamboat Company, Victoria Steamboat Association, Mrs C Black, Isles Steamship Company

Service dates: 1877 - 1905

Tonnage: Gross 451


This boat was originally a steamer on the Clyde, where she sailed for 13 years. She was luxurious by the standards of the day and was an immediate success when she commenced sailings for the Victoria Steamboat Association in 1890. She set new standards of comfort for the Thames and she was the first excursion paddler to be fitted with electric lighting. On one occasion on the Thames, on 16 May 1894, both her funnels were smashed away when she ran into London Bridge. Her Captain had seen the New Palace Steamers go under the bridge and thought Lord of the Isles could do the same. The New Palace Steamers boat, however, had retracted her telescopic funnels but reports differ as to whether Lord of the Isles had them fitted before she left the Clyde, or as a result of the accident. In any event she sailed into London Bridge with her funnels up on this occasion. With her funnels lowered she could sail further up river, as far as St Pauls Wharf, where she underwent repair/refurbishment and in my collection I have a postcard of her in this location. This splendid picture shows her racing down the Thames off Southend, with the Kent Coast in the distance. The image comes from a glass plate negative circa 1890/5 that I have recently acquired. It was taken from the bridge of PS Woolwich Belle. For another picture of the two vessels taken at the same time, please click here.

Lord of the Isles sailed in competition with the Belle steamers to the Essex coast and despite poor reliability she was a firm favourite with her London passengers. The VSA suffered financial problems and she was sold in 1896 and renamed Jupiter. Her new owners ran her to Southend and Margate for a few seasons before she was laid up. In 1904 she was sold again, back to her native Clyde and was renamed Lady of the Isles. She was not a success, being too old fashioned for the discerning Clyde trade and after just one season she was broken up in 1905 at Dumbarton.

I am grateful to Alistair Deayton for additional information on this steamer.

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