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Compton Castle - Kingswear Castle's Unfortunate Sister

Photographs © Ian Liston 2006

P S Compton Castle was built in 1914 by Cox and Company in Falmouth and was put into service on the River Dart as an excursion steamer.

Speed: 7.75 Knots     Tonnage: 97.31 Gross – 51.54 Net    Dimensions: 108 ft x 17.6 ft.


She was very similar to the Kingswear Castle, the main difference being that she was approx 2’ wider.  During World War 2 she was commandeered as an ammunition carrier on the River Dart. She spent many years in service until 1962 when she was put up for sale as scrap.

In 1964 she was sold to Messrs Baume and Woods and taken to Kingsbridge and, after some restoration and repainting, she was opened as a floating museum and café moored alongside Squires Quay. At this time her engines were in good condition. Whilst here she was used a number of times on Film and TV work and made an appearance in The Onedin Line.

In 1978 she was bought by publican Ernest Clayton and towed to Looe where it was the intention of her new owner to restore her to original condition for further excursion work. The engines were repaired but before she could be restored to her former glory, the restoration money ran out.

In 1982 she was purchased by Mr David Worledge and stripped down to her hull. Her engines and boiler were removed and she was towed to Lemon Quay in Truro where a new superstructure was built and she became a floating restaurant.

In 1991 she was bought by her present owners and turned into the busy floating forest which she is to this day.

Although she still rises and falls on the daily tides, it is unlikely she will ever go anywhere as she is separated from navigable water by a busy dual carriageway.

History taken from information on a (dilapidated) notice board alongside the old paddler.

Ian Liston, Truro

January 2006


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