The text, paintings, photos, programmes and diagrams you’ll see here are part of our latest exhibition at the Heritage Centre, which is Song of the River Steamers and it celebrates the collection of research and artwork by the late Charles Glen, a lifelong Paddle Steamer enthusiast who dedicated a large part of his retirement to his love of the Clyde Steamers. His collection was donated to us by his daughters.

Waverley (1947)

To perpetuate the name of the veteran paddler lost at Dunkirk in 1940, the L.N.E.R. ordered a replacement from A. & J. Inglis in 1946, and bestowed the name Waverley upon her. As it transpired, this was to be the last paddle steamer to be built for Clyde Services, and the last Clyde steamer to be driven by steam.

The Waverley was a modern two funnelled paddler incorporating the latest ideas of her Marine Superintendent, who was averse to lifeboats on the sponsons, preferring them to be sited on top of the deck saloons, which gave her a top-heavy appearance. Sad to say, she was coal fired, a short sighted decision which necessitated conversion to oil ten years later.

In 1947 she took up the Craigendoran-Arrochar run, decked out in full L.N.E.R., pre 1935 livery, but she only carried it for one year, as after the nationalisation of the railways in 1948, the buff funnel with black top of the Caledonian Steam Packet Company was adopted. From 1952 until 1974 she was employed on various routes and cruises, but diminishing traffic and mounting costs caused her to be laid up at the end of the season.

She was sold to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society for £1.00 and after being surveyed and refitted was registered in name of the Waverley Steam Navigation Company, and with her base at Anderston Quay, Glasgow, continued to give cruises on the river. She also visited the Forth, the East Coast, the Thames, the South Coast, the Bristol Channel, and the Lancashire Coast, performing cruises which, on the whole, have been very well patronised. Despite persistent boiler troubles, she still cruises today!