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Former Weymouth harbourmaster recalls the glory days of ferries
10:22am Tuesday 10th April 2012 in Looking Back
TIMELY memories and photographs have come in to us from former Weymouth harbourmaster Peter Tambling.
Peter was prompted to contact us having read the recent brouhaha on the front pages of the Dorset Echo regarding the state of disrepair of the harbour and specifically the area where the Condor cross-Channel ferry moored.
Claiming to be responsible for bringing Condor to Weymouth in the first place (and admitting the current state of affairs ‘gets up my snout’) he recalled the glory days when several ferries operated out of Weymouth and sent in photographs to prove it.
He also lent us a very old photograph of the SS Melmore, a Great Western Railway steam ship that plied her trade between Weymouth and the Channel islands and also from Plymouth to Nantes.
She followed in the wake of her sister ship the Ibex which, according to Peter, was one of the most famous Channel Island boats.
He said: “At this time there was immense rivalry between boat companies and the temptation to race was overwhelming for their captains.
“It took place across the Channel and also in the Bristol Channel. In 1897, the Ibex was holed on rocks just outside Jersey and in 1900 she again struck rocks off Guernsey and sank.”
Other Great Western Railway boats that worked from Weymouth were the Reindeer and Roebuck. Several were later equipped as minesweepers for wartime work.