Many people remember with great fondness the pleasure steamers that plied the River Thames in the years after the end of the Second World War. The mighty General Steam Navigation Company, more commonly known as 'Eagle Steamers', dominated the business. But fewer people now appreciate the significant role that the New Medway Steam Packet Company (known as 'Queen Line Steamers') played in the growth of services in the Thames Estuary from the early 1920s until the early 1960s. The 'Eagle & Queen Line of Steamers' became one of the most formidable pleasure steamer operators in the whole of the UK before its untimely demise in the 1960s. Andrew Gladwell tells the story of the steamers which operated in the Medway from their inception to the present day, using a selection of images, many previously unpublished, to bring the story to life. Medway Queen herself still survives, but names familiar to Medway residents will include the Queen of Thanet, City of Rochester and Queen of the Channel. Today, Kingswear Castle, Waverley and Balmoral provide steamer services on the Medway, keeping alive an almost two-hundred-year-old tradition.
Andrew Gladwell was an archivist of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society and has been a life-long steamer enthusiast. A prolific author he has written several books on paddle steamers, many of which published by Amberley. He lives in Kent.