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London, Chatham & Dover Railway
Operated steamers independently until 1899 when, as a joint operating operation with the South Eastern Railway, the South Eastern & Chatham was established

The railway company was formed in 1859 out of the East Kent Railway which had been established in 1853 to build lines to compete with the dominant South Eastern Railway in Kent. Its first line opened in 1860 but competition was fierce and the new company went into insolvency in 1867. The company was refinanced but continued to struggle until an accommodation with the South Eastern Railway was established in 1899 with the shipping services operated jointly as one business and the railways allowing joint running and service rationalisation.

The LC&D took over the English, French & Belgian Mail Company's steamer services in June 1863 after a contested award by the Postmaster General. That company was owned and managed by Jenkins & Churchward.



Above : Au Revoir (ex- Calais) was one of three sisters which marked the end of paddle steamer purchasing by the railway company in 1896. It was the only one of these and one of two LC&D paddlers to survive the exit from this form of propulsion by the joint operating company in 1911. It was a short life as an ocean liner tender at Boulogne where she tendered HAPAG liners because she was requisitioned by the French Navy and sank following a torpedo strike in 1916


Sold by the English, French & Belgian Royal Mail Co

John Penn (1859-1862) Built by Thames Ironworks & Shipbuilding. 183.2 ft : 203 GRT. Engines : Oscillating 46, 46 x 50 in by J Penn & Sons. Sold to the Belgian Govt as Perle


Vessels ex- English, French & Belgian Royal Mail Co

Vivid II (ex- Onyx)


Empress (1855-1867)
Built by Ditchburn & Mare at London. 157.7 ft : 189 GRT. Engine by Miller, Ravenhill & Co. ex- L'Imperatrice. Sold to London interests as Pathfinder
La Reine (1855-1868)
Built by CJMare & Co at Blackwall. 156.6 ft : 196 GRT. Renamed Queen (briefly) and then Pioneer
Jupiter (1857-1863) Built in 1849 by Miller, Ravenhill & Co at Blackwall. 163.5 ft : 172 GRT. ex- Gravenend New SP Co (Star SP Co). Sold for blockade running but lost in B of Biscay
Prince Frederick William (1857-1871) Built by Thames Ironworks & Shipbldg. 170.6 ft : 215 GRT. Engine  Oscillating 43, 43 x 36 in by Ravenhill, Salkeld & Co. Sold to Liverpool

Maid of Kent (1862-1898) Built by Samuda Bros at Poplar. 191.7 ft : 335 GRT. Engine : Oscillating 50 and 50 in x 45 in  by Ravenhill, Salkeld & Co.
Samphire (1861-1899) Built by Money, Wigram & Sons at Poplar. 191.7 ft : 330 GRT. Engine : Oscillating 50 and 50 in x 45 by Ravenhill & Co
Foam (1862-1901) Built by Samuda Bros at Poplar. 230.6 ft : 497 GRT. Engine Oscillating 62 and 62 in x 54 in by Salkeld.
Scud (1862-1865) Built by Samuda Bros at Poplar. 230.6 ft : 482 GRT.
Engine Oscillating 62 and 62 in x 54 in by Salkeld. Dold Operated in Canada (New Brunswick)
Petrel (1862-1870)  Built by Money, Wigram & Sons at Poplar. 223.7 ft : 503 GRT. Engine : Oscillating 62 and 62 in x 54 by Ravenhill & Co. Sold. Renamed Etoile du Nord

In the 1870s, The LC&D  experimented with innovative paddle steamer designs in an attempt to reduce passenger sea-sickness, but without success

Castalia (1874) was a catamaran with two "half-hulls" with two central paddle wheels  between the hulls each powered by a separate engine
    Built by Thames Ironworks & Shipbldg Co at Blackwall. 290.5 ft : 1533 GRT. Engines : 4 x simple 47 1/4 in x 60 in by J&A Blyth
    Ordered by the English Channel Steam Shipping Co. Sold in 1883 to the Metropolitan Asylums Board as a floating hospital at Long Reach, Dartford
    Sold to Dutch breakers in 1904

Bessemer (1875-1876) was double-ended and had four side paddle wheels and a pivoting central hull section
    Built by Earle's Shipbldg & Engg. Co at Hull. 149.6 ft : 1974 GRT. Engines : Oscillating 4 x 80.5 in x 60 in by builders
    Built for the Bessemer Saloon Steamboat Co. Sold to new owners in Hull. Scrapped in 1881   

Calais-Douvres (1877-1887) was double-ended twin-hulled with one central paddle wheel between the two sections
    Built by A Leslie & Co at Hebburn. 320 ft : 1925 GRT. 2 x 2cyl diagonal 63 and 63 in x 74 in by Black, Hawthorn & Co at Gateshead
    Originally built for the English Channel Steamship Company as Express but company was insolvent on completion. laid up from 1887 until 1891 then hulked. Scrapped in 1899

Other LC&D vessels

Scout (1870-1871) Built in 1847 at Blackwall. 154.5 ft : 178 GRT.  ex- Vivid. Possible foreign ownership


London, Chatham & Dover Railway Fleet on amalgamation with the Southern Railway in 1899


Samphire (1861-1899) Built by Money, Wigram & Sons at Poplar. 191.7 ft : 330 GRT. Engine : Oscillating 50 and 50 in x 45 by Ravenhill & Co
Foam (1862-1901)  Built by Samuda Bros at Poplar. 230.6 ft : 497 GRT. Engine Oscillating 62 and 62 in x 54 in by Salkeld.
Wave (1863-1899)  
Built by Money, Wigram & Sons at Poplar. 190.4 ft : 340 GRT. Engine : Oscillating 50 and 50 in x 45 in by Ravenhill & Co
Breeze (1863-1899)
Built by Money, Wigram & Sons at Poplar. 201.4 ft : 340 GRT. Engine : Diagonal 50 and 50 in x 45 in by Ravenhill & Co
France (1864-1899)
Prince (1864-1899)  
Invicta (1882-1899)  Built by Thames Ironworks & Shipbldg at Blackwall. 312.3 ft : 1282 GRT. Engine : Oscillating 80 in x 78 in. French flag from 1885
Victoria (1886-1904)  
Built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engg at Govan. 309.4 ft : 940 GRT. Engines : 58 and 104 in x 72 in
Empress (1887-1906)  
Built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engg at Govan. 324.5 ft : 1065 GRT. Engines : Compound diagonal 59 and 106 in x 72 in
Calais-Douvres (1889-1900) Built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engg at Govan. 324.5 ft : 1065 GRT. Engines : Compound diagonal 59 and 106 in x 72 in
Dover (1896-1911)  
Built by Wm Denny Bros at Dumbarton. 280 ft : 979 GRT. Engines : Triple expansion 35.5 x 52.5 x 76 in x 72 in
Calais (1896-1911)
Built by Wm Denny Bros at Dumbarton. 280 ft : 979 GRT. Engines : Triple expansion 35.5 x 52.5 x 76 in x 72 in
Lord Warden (1896-1911) Built by Wm Denny Bros at Dumbarton. 280 ft : 979 GRT. Engines : Triple expansion 35.5 x 52.5 x 76 in x 72 in


Sold for further use :

Calais-Douvres (1889-1900)   Sold for service to the Isle of Man, surviving until 1909
Calais (1896-1911)  Sold for ocean liner tendering work at Boulogne as Au Revoir surviving until 1916



Bibliography

Chatham Steamers - The Paddle Steamers of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway
By John Hendy
Published by Ferry Publications in 2020
ISBN  978-1-5272-9869-9
Comprehensive history by well-known ferry historian John Hendy


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South Eastern & Chatham
Historical Database