This picture of Dorset looking at its finest shows a pleasure paddle steamer heading into Lulworth Cove.

This paddle steamer, the PS Empress, was part of a three-boat team that brought tourists from Bournemouth and Weymouth to holiday in Lulworth.

The photo was taken in the pre-war period. PS Empress was owned by Cosens & Co of Weymouth.

She was known as 'the resort's favourite paddle steamer' and was launched on April 7, 1879 from the Thames-side shipyard of Samuda Bros. This was a time when the popularity of steamboat excursions was on the rise.

Post-war her bulwarks were painted white.

The method of mooring relied upon the boat being constructed with a reinforced stem. On approach a stern anchor was laid and the bow then driven into the shingle. To recover, the paddles were run astern at the same time as the anchor was hauled in.

PS Empress was used in the 1946 film Great Expectations.

She was scrapped in 1958.

Paddle steamers last ran to Lulworth in the mid 1960s.

Thanks to our regular contributor Now Long Gone for the extra information on PS Empress.