PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Scarborough’s pleasure steamers

These nostalgic pictures of Scarborough’s pleasure boats are from the collection of local history and postcard enthusiast Charles Braithwaite.

Charles said: “To most people who visit our seafront, our two pleasure boats, Coronia and Regal Lady, are a familiar sight throughout the year.

Passenger steamer Scarborough at the lighthouse pier. Picture courtesy Charles Braithwaite collection.

Passenger steamer Scarborough at the lighthouse pier. Picture courtesy Charles Braithwaite collection.

“Of Scarborough’s many highly-rated tourist attractions since late Victorian times, my research leads me to believe that the succession of pleasure boats during that period has perhaps been the least publicised.

“The first such boat was registered in Scarborough in 1852. This was a paddle-steamer named the Transit, formerly a tug, but which proved commercially successful as an excursion vessel.

“A succession of paddle-tugs followed before the appearance of the Cambria in 1899. Unfortunately this boat ran aground in 1912, and although she was rescued without any serious mishap to passengers she was then sold.

“About the same time, we had the larger boat, the Scarborough, another paddle-steamer built in 1866, which provided trips to Whitby and Bridlington until the outbreak of the First World War.

“The years between the wars saw the last of the paddle-steamers, the Bilsdale built in Middlesbrough. This vessel operated from the harbour for 11 seasons and its service was terminated in 1934 when the Royal Lady, built in 1933, was commissioned.

“She remained in service until 1937 and, requisitioned by the Admiralty, later became a World War Two casualty. The New Royal Lady arrived in 1938.

“One of the postcards depicts the unusual sight of three pleasure boats moored in line below the lighthouse during the early 1930s. These are the twin-screw White Lady, the Bilsdale, and the Yorkshireman (a Bridlington vessel). Another card shows the White Lady II.

“Built and commissioned during the mid-1930s were the New Royal Lady and the Coronia, reputed to be the fastest passenger vessel on the North East coast.

“I understand it was built with two funnels, one being removed early in service but later replaced by a dummy funnel owing to competition from the New Royal Lady.

“Although the postcard shows an inset of a Capt FA Day, I understand that the late, well-respected Capt Syd Smith was actually in charge during the first year of operation.

“During the 1950s there appeared the Regal Lady, the Yorkshire Lady, and the Regency Belle. The latter left in 1955 leaving the other two vessels and the Coronia in service.

“The Coronia left in the late 1960s and the Yorkshire Lady was renamed as the Coronia.

All these boats served quite long spells in warmer climates.”