This rather fine book is a celebration of forty years of the Waverley Steam Navigation Company. On 8 August 1974 the world's last sea-going paddle steamer, PS Waverley, was sold by her owners for the sum of £1 to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, who then formed the Waverley Steam Navigation Company to operate her. PS Waverley was built by A. & J. Inglis of Glasgow in 1946, so has now spent rather longer in operation as a preserved ship than she did in service with LNER, the Caledonian Steam Packet Company and Caledonian MacBrayne.
Today the PS Waverley remains a common sight around the coasts of the UK and, especially, in the Firth of Clyde in which she was built to sail. With a fair wind and the continuing support of many enthusiasts and other funders, there is no reason why she should not continue to provide a taste of a world now long gone for many years to come.
"Waverley Steam Navigation Company" by Alistair Deayton and Iain Quinn tells the story of the last forty years in the words of those most closely involved. The compilers have assembled contributions from those who operated the PS Waverley before she was sold; from those who purchased her for £1; from the many captains who have sailed her over the years; from a purser; and from many others.
The book also provides a wealth of background information about the Waverley. Here you can find a (long) list of every port, pier and harbour she has called at since 1947; events she has been associated with; information about her engines; a collection of crew photographs; and reprints of timetables and publicity material. The result is a book that can very enjoyably be dipped into, and a book which offers some wonderful insights into the pleasures and problems of keeping living history afloat against the background of the need to operate the ship on commercial principles and in accordance with modern safety standards. The result is also a book that will have an enduring appeal for the army of enthusiasts out there who rightly believe that the PS Waverley is something very special indeed.