IAN Crump's article last Friday was most interesting.

I can add that Paddle Steamer Princess Royal was built by John I Thornycroft & Co at their Woolston, Southampton shipyard being registered on 1st June 1906. It was 195 feet long and weighed 428 gross register tons.

It was lengthened by 21 feet 8 inches, to improve speed and buoyancy, soon after its withdrawal in 1906 and this increased her weight to 482 grt.

After the 1908 season with Cosens, PS Empress of India received a strengthened bow with extra platework.

This did nothing for its speed but may have been needed as Cosens & Co's boats came in very close to shore on Lulworth Cove trips. They carried only short gang planks at the front, allowing passengers to leave/join, so these hard bows made beach landings possible without damage.

She also received an extended upper deck around the same time.

In early 1914 she was pictured berthed alongside at Cherbourg with lots of passengers after a long crossing from Bournemouth.

In 1922 she struck a submerged object damaging port side paddles and the housing. She had to be towed to Cosens' Weymouth base for marine survey and repairs.

The substantial post war refit/modernisation took only around 18 months but left the ship lying even deeper in the water thus slowing it further.

On Sunday 11th July 1948 the vessel was berthed at Weymouth Quay where the public inspected all the work Cosens' craftsmen had carried out for the 800 passengers it was designed to carry.

On Monday 12th she sailed from Weymouth with invited guests on board. The following day she resumed commercial sailings, from Cosens Bournemouth Pier 'station', under the command of Captain P St B Rawle. Most trips were to the Isle of Wight and back.

The summer of 1955 was generally very good with plenty of sunshine, little wind and calm seas. This led to heavy loadings with which Paddle Steamer Monarch couldn't cope. Hence the reason why Cosens decided to place Emperor of India on the Swanage route during the high season.

By contrast, summer 1956 had wind, rain and poor sea conditions causing loadings to be uneconomic. This continued a generally downward trend in Cosens business during the 1950s resulting in the largest vessel of their fleet to go to the breakers. She arrived in Bruges on 28th January 1957.

I hope this may be of interest to your readers.

Peter Sykes,

West Drive,