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The Heyday of Thames Pleasure Steamers


by Andrew Gladwell

The sight of a splendid looking pleasure steamer arriving at a seaside resort and disembarking hundreds of happy day trippers is a sight few would remember now. But just half a century ago, the fleet of Eagle Steamers were as much a part of Margate, Southend, Clacton and Ramsgate as were the famous amusement parks such as Dreamland or the Kursaal. By the mid-1930s, sleek modern motor vessels were replacing the older paddle steamers. Wartime service took its toll on London’s pleasure steamer fleet but, by the late 1940s, favourite old vessels had returned and were joined by wonderful replacement vessels for wartime losses. By the 1950s, the Thames fleet was truly magnificent, and it seemed that the peacetime queues of passengers would last forever in those sun-drenched days of the 1950s. But, by the 1960s, it was all more or less over as the motor car became the preferred mode of getting to the seaside. For many, though, there would be nothing like a day trip aboard a pleasure steamer such as the Royal Daffodil, Queen of the Channel or the Royal Sovereign. With a wonderful array of nostalgic photographs, Andrew Gladwell celebrates this golden era of Thames pleasure steamers. 96 pages, 180 illustrations.

Number of copies

Book Author

Andrew Gladwell


General Interest


Queen of the Channel, Royal Daffodil, Royal Sovereign


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