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Lincoln Castle : Original operating Area - Humber Estuary, UK

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In British rail colours in the late 1960s  Photo made available by kind courtesy of degakh under Creative Commons Licence : Creative Commons 2.0

Built in 1940 by A&J Inglis, Pointhouse, Glasgow, Scotland : yard no 1024
Engines : Triple Expansion Diagonal by Ailsa Shipbuilding Co of Troon, Ayrshire : 16.5, 26 and 41 inch cylinders with 51" stroke
Dimensions : 199'7" long x 33'1" breadth
598 Gross Registered Tonnes (320 net)

Operated on London & North East Railway's Hull-New Holland ferry service on the Humber Estuary in England, commencing on 4th August 1941,one month after a delayed delivery from Scotland
She had originally left the Clyde in October 1940, but rough seas damaged her and she put in at Tobermory, before returning for repair. She then lay at Craigendoran awaiting fine weather
After railway mationalisation in 1948 she was owned by British Transport Commission then British Railways and finaly Sealink
Similar to her quasi-sisters Tattershall and Wingfield Castle except for the boiler being forward (ie the boiler placed ahead of the engines in the hull)
With her funnel forward of the paddle wheels her looks were more conventional than her sisters
Enclosed wheelhouse and radar added in April 1948
Mainmast fitted in April 1954
Retained on the service after the withdrawal of her quasi-sisters, running alongside the paddle car ferry Farringford
Withdrawn in Febraury 1978 with a defective boiler, having remained coal-fired to the end, the last such vessel of her type in the UK
Opened as a pub at Hessle close to the Humber Bridge which had, since 1981, rendered the ferries obsolete
Resold to Colin Johnson in 1986 and moved to Immingham for refurbishment in 1987 and boilers removed
Opened as a bar and restaurant at the Heritage Centre at Alexandra Dock, Grimsby in 1989
Closed to the public since late 2006 for refurbishment,
Due to serious deterioration and holing of some hull plates he was moved along the dock and "beached" on limestone tipped into the corner of the dock to avoid sinking
Work stalled on cost grounds and Lincoln Castle was offered for sale in 2009
In the absence of private buyers by June 2010 (mostly put off by the high costs of rectifying the hull plus the local council's demand for a GBP 60k bond) the owner decided to scrap the ship
The Lincoln Castle Preservation Society was established at the end of May 2010 to buy the ship for restoration and eventual return to service but failed in their attempt

The ship was scrapped in situ at Alexandra Dock, Grimsby during late September and early October 2010.

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These views were taken on Saturday 9th October 2010
Thanks to Susan Watkin.

More from Susan on the "Scrapping" page : Click here or on the link below the photo of the (former) engines below to see these and more of the demoliton

The magnificent Ailsa-built engines, which were kept in close to working order.
This photo was kindly supplied by Kenneth Whyte

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For more photos of the demolition of Lincoln Castle - Click here

Left: Lincoln Castle at Grimsby in 2008

Looking good but beached on the slag pile at the corner of the dock which mean she rested on the bottom at low tide - causing further damage to her hull plates. It proved impossible to repair her at this location - and the cost of removing her was prohibitive and led to her demise.

Photo by kind courtesy of David Ornsby

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Lincoln Castle aground at low tide on the slag tipped into the dock on 31st January 2007. Museum trawler Ross Tiger (built 1957) and fishing smack Esther (1888) are also in the dock as part of the National Fishing Heritage Centre run by NE Lincolnshire Council.

Photo made available by kind courtesy of riffraff1 under Creative Commons Licence : Creative Commons 2.0 

Prior to the scrapping, the engine room was in immaculate condition

Photos left courtesy of Lee Wheeler and right courtesy of David Ornsby

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The ship was put up for sale by owner Colin Johnson, in the summer of 2009 through a ship broker. She had been serving as a bar/restaurant at Alexandra Dock, Grimsby but had been closed in 2006 and repairs to the hull below the waterline were attempted after the ship was "beached" on slag tipped into a corner of the dock. These attempts failed and concrete has been used internally to seal pinhole leaks in the hull. A number of private purchasers came forward with the GBP 20,000 asking price but were put off by the requirement of the local council for a GBP 60,000 bond as surety that the ship would be repaired and not abandoned to decay. This plus the unexpectedly high costs of hull restoration left the owner having difficulty finding a buyer. The ship was then offered free to the UK's Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS, which already operates PS Waverley, PS Kingswear Castle and MV Balmoral). Whilst there was a general will within the society to take ownership, the demands of its charitable status and the need not to abstract from funds for existing projects left the Council of Management of the PSPS with no mandate to pursue the matter further, but there was some comfort in that a bid by a local businessman was still on the table at that time and the ship did look like it would be secure. A Grimsby-based group the Lincoln Castle Trust had been established to try and save the ship but raising the finance proved difficult. Over in Hull, the Lincoln Castle Preservation Society (LCPS) was established by its Chariman Stephen Sharpe with a view to taking her across the Humber and eventually restoring her to service. The LCPS was formed at short notice when it became clear that all other potential purchasers had pulled out and the owner had apparently decided that the vessel should be scrapped. Stephen Sharpe mounted a high profile campaign in the local media to raise awareness - and funds. The Society was remarkably successful in raising money in a short period of time, but the owner consistently rebuffed any attempt to negotiate a sale of the ship to the LCPS. The Society's last offer was five times the original asking price yet it was still rejected. However, they key sticking point would have been the cost of moving her to a place where work on her hull could have taken place. With no permit from the MCA (Maritime & Coatguard Agency) for a tow, a pontoon was estimated by the PSPS to have cost in the region of GBP 700,000 - an amount they were unable to commit and unwilling to attempt to raise.

FPSW Comment : The saga shows that ships need regular inspection and maintenance. Under such conditions their lives can be extended for as long as owners are prepared to pay for the necessary repairs and refurbishments. Virtually enclosed in Alexandra Dock, Lincoln Castle did not receive this essential care during her stay in Grimsby and this led to the tragic and unnecessary loss of what was otherwise a perfectly good ship.

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When considering ship renovation bear in mind that Tattershall Castle's last renovation at George Prior's (now closed) yard at Great Yarmouth cost GBP 4.75 million ...........

This last refurbishment saw considerable work including removal of the paddles, a new lounge in place of the bridge and internal work to bring her up to standard for earning money in the London pub and club scene. A similar amount of money would have been needed to make Lincoln Castle operational, but had she be slipped every few years for hull inspections and replating as necessary, she could have remained in excellent condition and her scrapping could have been avoided. Her location and the decision of her owner ultimately contributed to her demise. Successful restaurant ships such as Wilhelm Tell at Lucerne are regularly towed over to the local dockyard for relatively inexpensive inspections and maintenance. Wilhelm Tell, helped to some degree by lying in fresh water, is over 100 years old, and has been out of service much longer than Lincoln Castle was yet is in magnificent condition.

Had Lincoln Castle been in a fit state to receive a licence from the MCA for her to be towed to a commercial yard or suitable dry dock, the ship could easily have been saved. The failure of the owner to give the ship's hull regular maintentance (almost inevitably once she was all but enclosed in Alexandra Dock) meant that according to a surveyor's report, she was going to cost far too much even just to move her to a place at which to get any restoration project started.

She had been floated on to a specially deposited slag pile in the corner of Alexandra Dock after her closure as a pub in 2006 to try and effect the increasingly necessary hull repairs (she had earlier sprung a leak and been repaired with concrete). These proved to be too complicated to undertake properly in situ. It is unclear whether she could have been floated out of the dock for commercial repair at that time. The cost of that work probably was estimated at more than available to owner Colin Johnson's business at the time, but it would seem that that was the last chance she had for a long term future.

The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society reported in its journal "Paddle Wheels" Winter 2007 edition that it was "trying to assist the owner of PS Lincoln Castle with a plan to renovate the ship". Had the offer of donating the ship been made at this time, or earlier if the necessary regular maintanance of the ship had been regarded as unaffordable by Mr Johnson, the outcome could have been much different. Only in May 2010 did it become apparent to the general public (and most paddle steamer enthusiasts) that Lincoln Castle was at real risk and only then could they swing into action, as was done remarkably successfully by the LCPS. 

Exactly why owner Colin Johnson did not sell the ship to the LCPS in 2010 is unclear. They had cash and additional pledges which far exceeded the owner's original asking price yet it has been said that the owner would sell everything but the "bottom plates" effectively rendering it impossible. However it is clear that the owner never entered into any serious negotiations, especially with LCPS who had developed a plan for her removal, storage and restoration. Had the various interested parties, including North East Lincolnshire Council who appear to have played a significant role, sat down together and hammered out a sensible solution, Lincoln Castle might have been saved, even if it had to be a "constructive dismantling" with a view to a future rebuild which LCPS had contingency plans for. At least the most irreplaceable part of the ship, the engines, could and should have been saved. If in fact Colin Johnson was doing the LCPS a favour, to the extent that there was no possibility of getting her out of Alexanda Dock then this should have been discussed and agreed between two cooperating parties rather than through the press. In fact, it should have been made crystal clear three years ago when the problem presumably became apparent.

It does seem incredible, however, that some way for making her suitably watertight could not have been found to allow her to be towed to a place of refuge for attention.

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN ...............Update from Switzerland

Concurrently with the scrapping in situ of Lincoln Castle, plans for the renovation of the Swiss restaurant paddler Neuchatel, now owned by an enthusiasts' group (Trivapor), have got into full swing. In October 2010, just as the last remains of Lincoln Castle disappeared, she was lifted out of the water on to the river bank for a two year long restoration. Had Lincoln Castle been able to have been floated out of Alexandra Dock or had space alongside the dock been made available for the renovation work to take place, it is possible that the Humber paddler would have been with us today and would be looking forward to a bright future. Click here to read more about the Swiss project and follow the links see extensive photography of her being lifted out of the water and just in, new photos of the renovation work as at February 4th, 2011. She has been stripped right down and over 50 percent of her hull plates are going to be replaced. So, even after Copes had stripped the fittings from Lincoln Castle she could still have been saved had she been taken out of the water or found safe refuge.  


   Website :
   e-mail - lincolncastlepreservationsociety (at) hotmail (dot) co (dot) uk :
Despite not being able to persuade the owner to sell the ship ro them intact, the Lincoln Castle Preservation Society have purchased some items of interest from the ship and have publicly declared their intention to build a new Lincoln Castle with the old plans appropriately modified to incorporate all modern design legislation. The ultimate objective is to have the new ship offering excursion cruises on the Humber estuary. The Society is engaged in fundraising whilst working behind the scenes on the plans for the new vessel. In early 2011 space was made available by Hull Museum for a temporary exhibition about the ship, featuring items from the Society's collection of rescued artefacts plus items from members' collections.

ENTHUSIASTS' FORUM : A "Remember the Lincoln Castle" forum has been established as part of the National Steam Ship Preservation Forum on 

FACEBOOK : Photos, comments and discussion from supporters can be found on the unofficial LC Facebook page where there is extensive photography of the scrapping of Lincoln Castle plus mrembers' own photos of her from the past. These pages are now not used and most discussion about Lincoln Castle takes place on the forum above yet they form a good historical record of the final months of the ship : 
Earlier page


The local newspapers Grimsby Telegraph and Hull Daily Mail reported regularly on the Lincoln Castle saga since May 2010 until the ship finally disappeared. Click on the links to the newspapers' on-line sites then enter "Lincoln Castle" in the search box to retrieve the articles for reference :  
Hully Daily Mail :             Grimsby Telegraph :

With Wingfield Castle seemingly trapped in Hartlepool Marina due to her being too large to fit the rebuilt lock and Tattershall Castle, much rebuilt from her original form being a luctrative pub business in central London, it could be that there is now only one chance for a paddle steamer to be reactivated in the UK - PS Maid of the Loch. However, she will be confined to her Scottish loch.

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One last chance of another operational UK paddler ?
PS Maid of the Loch on Loch Lomond
It is looking like a very strong possibility, but will depend on sufficient funds being raised to complete the final stages of restoration. A push for funds will be made soon and success will lead to the return of a paddle steamer service on Scotland's most famous lake for the first time since 1981.
The Foundation urges all Lincoln Castle enthusiasts and sympathisers to become supporters of Maid of the Loch (click on link for official information)

Follow the vessel links below for specifications, historical details and photographs of these two fleet-mates.
Click here to go to or return to the
  Hull - New Holland Ferry service information page in this database 

Tattershall Castle has become a thriving pub on the Thames in central London - a prime site and perhaps the only one in the UK where such an operation could be successful. Unfortunately her latest refit designed to appeal to the leisure market has taken her some distance away from her historical roots. In this action, her paddles were removed to allow extra storage and lounge space.

Wingfield Castle was restored by trainees who earlier restored Portsmouth's HMS Warrior and she is now moored alongside Hartlepool's municipal museum only yards from the slip where she was built in 1934. Access is free as part of the town's excellent museum and she acts as the museum's cafeteria. There are some interpretative displays and audio aboard, but a recent renovation to allow the lower saloons to be used to hire out to local organisations and the required disabled access, including two lifts, have ruined her authenticity. She is also far less "comfortable" than Tattershall and as Lincoln Castle was before her fittings were stripped out, so there is little incentive to spend much time aboard. However, with the museum alongside the Historic Quayside attraction (which is like a theme park recreating an English port around 1800, but is not free to get into), Hartlepool has at least made a decent attempt to develop its old harbour and Gray's shipyard. The Jackson's Landing Outlet Mall closed, but there are a few shops remaining, plus a pub, fast food restaurants and a hotel. The shipyard basin is now a popular marina with numerous dinghies and yachts moored.
Wingfield Castle will be confined to Hartlepool Marina for the rest of her life it would seem. The lock (rebuilt in 1991 after she arrived) is now too small for her to pass through. Getting her out would be extremely expensive or require a complete dismantling.


Lincoln Castle at Hull in 1959. Photos by courtesy of Ian Stenton

In preservation : By David Ornsby : Click on the links for more

2004 - Lincoln Castle in Alexandra Dock
2004 - Aboard and Engines
2006 - Freshly repainted
2008 - 4th January
2008 - 21st October


Detailed photography, particularly internal views, taken in 2009 on this internet link : Photos by Mark Young (of PS Ryde Trust)
Wikipedia page :
From David Enefer's railpics website :
Photos of Lincoln Castle in Service :
Lincoln Castle in 1976 including photos in the boiler and engine room :
Youtube video of LC in operation : 
Aerial photo of LC moored at Hessle in 1986 :


Click on the links in the left hand column of the table below to go to the required section of the database


The Foundation for Paddle Steamers Worldwide's objectives and views.
How to contact the webmaster - acknowledgements - about this site

Operational Paddle Steamers
Paddle Steamer Reactivation Projects
Laid up Steamers
Statically Preserved Paddle Steamers

Paddle Steamers Under Construction
Lost Paddle Steamers
Paddle Steamers of the past
Paddle Steamer Engines
Clyde Steamers
British Paddle Steamer Index
Photograph Archive
Paddle Tugs
Paddle Steamer Support Organisations 
Paddle Steamer News

In public service, their operating companies and website links (includes motor paddlers)
Paddle Steamers under restoration for a possible return to service
Paddle Steamers out of service with no current plans for renovation
Paddle Steamers decommissioned and now with new roles as restaurants, museums etc
Projects for new paddle steamers
Vessels scrapped in recent years
By country and area : Paddle Steamers and service operators of the past
General Description and link to view Operational and preserved paddle steamer engines
The ultimate fleet of coastal cruising steamers
Search here for British Paddle Steamers
The webmaster's photograph collection in thumbnail form
Preserved paddle Tugs
Steamships or diesel conversions propelled by a stern wheel (Mississippi-style)
Organisations you can join or channel financial assistance through
News and comment from the Foundation about Paddle Steamers and their operating companies


Please support the Foundation in monitoring the situation regarding TS Queen Mary, the world's last steam turbine excursion steamer and with direct lineage to the world's first ever turbine passenger ship. A unique and magnificent vessel and the ultimate coastal and estuarine excursion ship - and for many years a fleet mate of PS Waverley. She remains at risk.

The Clyde Turbine Steamer Foundation

This database includes detailed information about the fleet of paddle steamers on the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. However, no analysis of Clyde excursion ships is complete without reference to the fleet of magnificent turbine steamers which, from 1901, sailed alongside the paddlers. The Clyde Turbine Steamer Foundation aims to remember these magnificent ships and support anyone who looks after the last survivor, Queen Mary (right, seen in London in 2007 when in use as a bar/restaurant), which was withdrawn from service in 1977 but remains with us although currently out of use and possibly at risk. A review of the world's few surviving turbine-powered passenger steamers is included in the website.

Go to Clyde Turbine Steamer Foundation Website

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Selected Steam-Powered Passenger Excursion Steamers

A selection of photos and photograph catalogue covering steam-powered passenger excursion steamers from the webmaster's collection.

Includes photos from Loch Katrine (Scotland), River Spree (Germany), Gothenburg (Sweden) and Stockholm (Sweden).  SS Storskar (seen right in 2008 approaching Waxholm pier) is one of four historic ships retaining steam power regularly sailing from the Swedish capital city.

Also covered are the eight Glasgow-built steamers from 1961 which sailed on the Bosphoros ferry service until the final withdrawal of the last of the set in 1994

Go to website

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The Tramscape Webmaster's Favourite Motor Ships

Motor ships might be more economical then steamers both in fuel consumption and in manpower needed to run and maintain, but they can never offer the smoothness and quiteness of the ride offered by steamers. Without the engines to see, there is also something missing for the interested passenger, but nevertheless, there have been and remain many excellent traditionally styled passenger ferries.

MV Maltepe which served on the busy Bosphoros crossing from Istanbul from 1962 until 2010 was one of a number of the webmaster's favourites.

Go to website

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Tramscape Tramway Photographs

Tramscape has a collection of over 20,000 photographs of over 100 mainly European tramways taken from 1980 until the present day. Photos and photo series are available for purchase with all money raised going towards Paddle Steamer preservation. The website has a downloadable spreadsheet catalogue for each tramway system and thumbnails of all photos are posted for inspection

Just as paddle steamers add something extra to a boat trip, modern tramway systems add something special to the cities in which they operate. Not only do they provide an efficient and reliable mass transport system - they make moving around cities easy and comfortable. They also add to the cityscape making excellent photographs possible

Go to the Tramscape Tramway Photographs Website

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Send an e-mail to the Webmaster, Gordon Stewart   Your comments and views, information requests etc are welcomed