Ryde Paddle Steamer - Isle of Wight - Nov 07

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Urban Mole

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Not far from the SARO works, down the river a bit is an old paddle steamer called PS Ryde.
Ive visited this a few times now, so photos from several trips.
This has been left to rot, unfortunatly, but it holds a hell of a lot of history, as follows;
Commissioned by the Southern Railway in 1936 to replace the elderly Duchess of Norfolk on the company's Portsmouth to Ryde service, the Ryde was built by the renowned Clydeside shipbuilder William Denny & Bros of Dumbarton at a cost of £46,000.

Like her elder sister, Sandown, she would be powered by triple expansion engines and her design would present a modern yet graceful profile, drawing on decades' experience of Solent paddlers. Launched on St George's Day 1937, Ryde was soon undergoing her sea trials in the Firth of Clyde, achieving 14½ knots over the Skelmorlie measured mile.

With the trials behind her, she now made the long voyage south, through the Irish Sea and around Land's End to her new home on the Solent. But after barely two years in service and with Europe again menaced by war, the new ship was requisitioned by the Royal Navy along with Sandown and converted into a minesweeper.

As HMS Ryde she would serve in the Dover Straights and the North Sea. During the sisters' time as minesweepers, German propaganda broadcasts frequently made menacing references to them. On more than one occasion the Germans even claimed credit for sinking the vessels.

After two years as a minesweeper, Ryde was refitted as an anti-aircraft ship, carrying a variety of quick firing weapons. Joining the Thames Local Defence Flotilla in 1942, her first duty saw her anchored out in the muddy wastes of the estuary as a guard ship. But she was soon transferred to Harwich, her base until May 1944 when she sailed to Portsmouth to join the great invasion fleet gathering for the liberation of Europe.

Safely arrived off the Normandy coast, Ryde took up position on the western side of the Mulberry harbour at Omaha beach. Having weathered a severe storm that gravely damaged the temporary harbour, she received the signal: "If you have enough coal, return to Portsmouth, if you do not have enough coal, run the ship onto the beach!". Fortunately, such extreme measures proved unnecessary; Ryde made it back to Portsmouth, although her crew were sweeping out her bunkers.

Following a short spell anchored off Bembridge, she was finally returned to the Southern Railway in August 1945, after nearly six years at war. At last she could at last exchange her guns for the holiday crowds that she had been built to carry.

During 1941, the Southern Railway steamers Portsdown and Southsea had been lost to enemy mines. Now, new motor vessels were ordered to replace them. By the time MV Southsea and MV Brading entered service on 1 November 1948, the Southern Railway had been absorbed into the nationalised British Railways.

In 1951, with the success of these large yet economical vessels, they were joined by a third sister, Shanklin. Now that three motor ships were in service, the remaining three paddlers, Whippingham, Sandown and Ryde became relief and summer only vessels.

With her size and accommodation, the Ryde was also a favourite choice for excursions and charters around the Solent. She saw the homecoming of Sir Alec Rose after his single-handed circumnavigation of the world, and finally, in 1968, went to the Thames in 1968 to become an Edwardian Gin Palace for Gilbeys Gin, complete with Pearly Kings and Queens and jellied eels!

Since Sandown's withdrawal in 1965, the writing had been on the wall for the Solent's last paddle steamer, and on 14 August 1969 the Ryde made her final sailing to the Isle of Wight. At this point, it seemed her next destination would be the breakers' yard.

However, local entrepreneurs AH and CB Riddett stepped in at the eleventh hour, and in September 1970 took her to Island Harbour where she became one of the Isle of Wight's most popular nightclubs. But public tastes can be fickle; although she survived a serious fire in 1977 and was repaired, the nightclub's popularity waned and closure followed. By the mid 1990s, the Ryde lay derelict, ravaged by thieves and the elements.

Now, 60 years after her D-Day service, she has been examined and a full rebuild to incorporate all the modern maritime safety requirements is viable. with the ownership and formation of a society she could steam again and carry passengers on charters and excursions for many years to come.
More info here ---> http://www.psryde.co.uk/

What it looked like when it was working;



As it was a few years ago;



And as it is now (in no particular order);


The deck, riddled with rot and holes.


Inside.


Corridor,(note the black windows when it was a nightclub).


Collapsed funnel.


Toilets.


Porthole.


Again.


Original old chain.




Dance floor.


Another internal.


Flakey paint.


Vegetation.


More loos.


Roof shot.


Fallen funnel.


Gangplank.


Lifeboats.


Looking forward.


Winch.


Paddles.


More to follow.....
 

Urban Mole

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Vent.


Getting dark.


Lower floor, very muddy.


Valves.


Another leaning funnel shot.


Close up.






Levers.


Engine shots.








Oooops, on the pi$$ :neutral:


Lower floor shots again.




Lifejackets.


Going up.


Another porthole.




Internal collapsed funnel.


Vents.


Thats it, hope you like :)
 

BrickMan

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man that thing is getting bad, following the reports in the last year the funnels only fell thru th floor during last summer I think!!!!


never seen teh engine though before, looks in half good nick! could probably be revamped and put on static display somewhere, I bid £8 + some pocket fluff :)

love the hand detail lines on teh engine componants, victorians know how to do industrial beauty, unlike nowadays :mad:
 

DCISmith

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I can't believe nobody was willing to do anything about it before it got that bad. I hate to see machinery like that lying useless, especially after the fascinating history it had.
Thanks for posting, though it was sad as anything, it was interesting to see and read about :)
 

Reaperman

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love the hand detail lines on teh engine componants, victorians know how to do industrial beauty, unlike nowadays :mad:

Given that the PS Ryde was built in the 1930's it really has little to do with the victorians.
 
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Foxylady

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Very sad to see, especially the interior photos. Really like the topside and exteriors shots though, especially the winch and paddles. Very interesting explore. :)
 

BrickMan

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Given that the PS Ryde was built in the 1930's it really has little to do with the victorians.

LOL, yeah, I can't read,

but its victorian technology (steam) by the 30's everything was pretty much diesel
 

fatdeeman

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It's a bittersweet sight for me because I love the photogenic quality of decaying old ships but I think it's safe to say she is beyond any hope now which is really sad :(

Amazing how so many original parts remain too like the lifeboats and lifejackets, would have made for a cracking restoration at one time.

Apparently there was an attempt to form a preservation society but the owner was dragging his heels about what he wanted to do with it.

There's a website called friends of ps ryde or something but the board has been closed for about 3 years now.
 

Locksley

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Shame. Great pics though, I'm guessing it's probably too far gone to be salvaged, maybe for a static but I' don't reckon it'll ever sail again... :cry:
 

tarboat

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A great explore. What a shame it has gone beyond saving. The engine is fantastic to see.
 

Maniac

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And whatever happened to all the money that was raised to restore it...?
Ill let you all decide... :neutral:

If the charitable trust that was setup was officially dissolved, then any funds raised were probably donated to another charitable organisation, normally closely associated with the origenal cause that the money was raised for. If the charity still exists then it could still be in a trust fund somewhere. Charitable organisations accounts I believe are available to members of the public for scruitiny, and also have to be audited once a year by the charitiy commission, so it's unlikely the money has just 'slipped under the mat' There are many charities setup for different causes every year, and projects never going ahead that funds have been raised for is a surprisingly common occurance.

I would love to have seen her restored, it's a real shame to see it like that, and I'm shocked to see the engine still in, that's normally the first part that's salvaged! And how did I miss this thread the first time round! Great pics there :)

Maniac.
 

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