- The model is 100% hand built by artisans from scratch using “plank on frame” construction method
- Rosewood, mahogany, teak and other exotic woods are carefully selected to build the model
- Real brass & stainless steel fittings
- Propellers and rudders made from brass
- Laser cut doors and window. You can see thru superstructure
- Hollow hull and hollow superstructure
- Highly-detailed and multi-layered paint to match color of the real ship.
PS Waverley is the last seagoing passenger carrying paddle steamer in the world. Built in 1946, she sailed from Craigendoran on the Firth of Clyde to Arrochar on Loch Long until 1973. Purchased by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, she has been restored to her 1947 appearance and now operates passenger excursions around the British coast.
Since 2003, Waverley has been listed in the British National Register of Historic Ships core collection as ‘a vessel of pre-eminent national importance’.
History in detail
PS Waverley is named after Sir Walter Scott’s first novel. She was built in 1946 as a replacement for an earlier PS Waverley of 1899 that took part in the WW II war effort as a minesweeper and was sunk in 1940 while helping with the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk. The new 693-tonne steamer was launched in October 1946 at builders A. & J. Inglis, Glasgow, and entered service in June 1947. She was built for the London and North Eastern Railway to sail on their Firth of Clyde steamer route from Craigendoran Pier, near Helensburgh, up Loch Long to Arrochar, and in her first year in service she wore that company’s red, white and black funnel colours.
In 1948 nationalisation of Britain’s railway companies brought the steamers under the control of the Caledonian Steam Packet Company (CSP), a subsidiary of the Railway Executive, and the funnels were repainted yellow with a black top. In 1965 a Scottish red lion rampant was fixed to each side of both funnels, and her hull was painted monastral blue until 1970.
After a revival of pre-war fortunes in the 1950s, the 1960s saw a gradual change in holiday habits leading to a decline in passenger numbers, and the closure of many of the small piers. Since 1969, and the formation of the Scottish Transport Group, the CSP had been gradually merging with the West Highland shipping and ferry company David MacBrayne Ltd, and in 1973 the company became Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd.
Waverley was withdrawn after the 1973 season as too costly to operate and in need of significant expenditure. By then the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS), had been set up as a registered UK charity, and had acquired the near-derelict small River Dart paddler PS Kingswear Castle. Caledonian MacBrayne, keen to ensure that the ship was preserved, sold Waverley to the PSPS for the token sum of one pound (GBP). Neither side really believed that the vessel would return to steam but, just in case, Caledonian MacBrayne stipulated that she should not sail in competition with their remaining cruise vessel, TS Queen Mary. A public appeal was launched to secure funding for the return of the Waverley to service and the fund-raising operation was successful. The PSPS found themselves running a cruise ship operation, Waverley Excursions. Since then Waverley has been joined in the PSPS fleet by PS Kingswear Castle and MV Balmoral, and has had a series of extensive refits and a lot of restoration work, including a new boiler and improvements to meet modern safety standards. She has circumnavigated Britain and every year carries out extensive sailings around the country.
Listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection, between 2000 and 2003 the ship underwent a substantial rebuild and reboilering, funded principally by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The work was done in two stages at the shipyard of George Prior at Great Yarmouth and has succeeded in returning the ship to her original 1946 livery with the inclusion of many 21st Century safety and technological improvements.
In 2009 the ship was affiliated with HMS Defender, having hosted the official dignitary party at Defender’s launch on the River Clyde. And in 2011 the ship was awarded the Institution of Mechanical Engineers 65th Engineering Heritage Award.
Waverley at the Watt Dock, Greenock, for a day’s repair work on 13 July 2010, with MV Clansman in for more extended repairs.
On the evening of Friday 15 July 1977 while returning from a cruise and approaching Dunoon pier, Waverley’s steering failed and she struck the rocks to the south known as ‘The Gantocks′. Firmly aground and down by the head the ship was extensively damaged. There was some doubt about whether or not she would hold together on refloating but she did, and she was repaired and returned to service. Her survival was attributed to her heavier than normal post World War II construction which had included provision for minesweeping gear and a deck gun in case she was ever requisitioned by the Admiralty for use in a future conflict.
On 15 September 2008, Waverley was involved in minor damage to Worthing Pier. After she berthed and secured lines to pier bollards, part of the landing stage became dislodged. No damage was sustained to the steamer but she had to depart without taking on passengers. The only damage to the pier was that a length of timber was pulled out.
On 26 June 2009, Waverley struck the pier at Dunoon, resulting in damage to both the ship and pier. Some 700 people were on board at the time, and 12 suffered minor injuries. The ship returned to Glasgow, where a damage assessment was carried out. One week later she was back in service on the Clyde.
Today Waverley operates passenger excursions from a variety of British ports. She regularly sails from Glasgow and other towns on the Firth of Clyde, the Thames, the South Coast of England and the Bristol Channel. She also undertakes private charters and provides an authentic backdrop for television documentaries and movies such as 2011’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.