Model of historical ferry donated to Newhaven Maritime Museum


A MODEL of a famous ferry was donated to Newhaven Local and Maritime Museum over the weekend.

The Newhaven to Dieppe ferry Paris number 3 was the last of the paddle driven steamers on this service.

Museum curator Peter Bailey was delighted to welcome the new addition on Sunday May 27.

Peter said: “Her later days were spent mostly on the night service, parked in Sleepers Hole (now the Marina) or at a landing stage by the Ark Inn.

“Maybe it was felt that her presence near the main road, with its bridge, might attract customers to the offered service.

“So from birth in 1985, she remained at Newhaven until 1912, just four years short of my being able to say I must have seen her!”

The original Paris ship completed the crossing in 3 hours and 25mins.

Peter pointed to a “good drama story” in the ship’s history, when on January 25, 1890, it set off from Dieppe to Newhaven, but got into difficulties during a gale. A paddle wheel developed problems and all progress stopped.

The ship drifted south east and it nearly got a tow from an English freighter which was in fear of getting too close to the Paris.

After two hours trying to tow, the rope broke and the Paris drifted towards the rocky shore of Cap Gris Nez.

When a metal float or floats broke off it meant nothing would hit the hull of the vessel if the paddles on the common axle were used, so the Paris headed for Dover having to compensate for one wheel performing better than its partner.

These were times before radio, but the Paris was spotted by a Dutch ferry, on her way to the Kentish port, so when the she arrived, arrangements were set to get her to a berth.

But she refused tugs and insisted berthing herself – she was carrying a considerable cargo of gold or silver bullion and this would have added value to the vessel in a salvage claim.

It was received by Gordon Burke, former port manager at both Newhaven and Dover and member of the Newhaven Historical Society.

The model was secured by Nick Wellings from Brighton who delivered it to the Museum.