The Paddle Steamer Waverley at Largs
The Waverley, the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world, was built on the Clyde in 1947 to replace the original Waverley that sunk off Dunkirk in 1940. She was originally built to sail only between Craigendorran & Arrochar in West Scotland, but now sails around Britain offering regular trips on the Clyde, the Thames, the South Coast of England and the Bristol Channel, with other calls at various ports & piers throughout the UK.
£1 doesn't get you much these days, but in 1974 it bought a 693-tonne paddle steamer! Mounting running costs left the then operators no choice but to withdraw the Waverley from service with the idea of preserving this unique ship. The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS) stepped in and took over the helm - for the princely sum of £1. It is a credit to the Society and supporters that the Waverley became more than a museum and now operates a full programme of cruises from Easter to October.
2003 saw the completion of a major restoration project, which returned the Waverley to the original 1940s style with which she was built. This has only been possible with major grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund totalling over £6m and the PSPS. Contributions have also come from Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Enterprise Glasgow, the European Regional Development Fund and local authorities. The Waverley has been supported by the PSPS with a vibrant membership of over 4,000 for 30 years, but only the excellent partnership with the HLF has provided the Waverley with a viable long-term future.
The Waverley is driven by a 2,100 horse power triple expansion diagonal steam engine and owned by a registered Charity and British Registered to carry up to 800 passengers. Her on-board facilities include a self-service restaurant, two fully licensed bars, heated observation lounge, 'Jeanie Deans' tearoom and a souvenir shop.