Paddle steamer returns to home port

rouser 2012
rouser 2012

THE Newhaven Local and Maritime Museum has acquired a superb 6ft model of the last paddle steamer to operate on the Newhaven-Dieppe service.

PS Paris III was designed by William Stroudley, the celebrated engineer of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, and built on the Clyde.

She weighed 761 tons, was 250 ft long and 29ft in the beam.

She served on the Newhaven-Dieppe run from 1889 to 1912 and achieved a crossing time of 3hrs 25mins - a pretty good time in comparison to modern crossings, but she was only carrying passengers.

She had her traumatic moments. Leaving Dieppe at about 2am on January 29, 1890, she ran into a heavy gale with snow squalls.

The paddles were badly damaged but, after scares, she limped into Dover harbour at 1pm the next day, refusing tug assistance, having been at sea for 36 hours in the most atrocious conditions.

One has to feel sorry for the passengers!

And, don’t forget, in 1890 there was no radio communication. When the ship failed to arrive in Newhaven, anxious relatives of the crew and passengers had climbed Seaford Head to scan the horizon for the lost ship.

Paris III was finally withdrawn in 1912 and sold to the Shipping Federation. In 1914 she was leased to the Admiralty, re-named Verdun, and used as a minesweeper. She was eventually scrapped in 1924.