This wonderful old picture shows crowds swarming ashore from Cosens' paddle steamer Premier.

It was taken at Castletown pier on Portland, a popular day trip location, and, as you can see, people are dressed smartly for a day by the seaside.

You can also see stone awaiting shipment from wagons on the pier.

The paddle steamer Premier was built in 1846 and wasn't withdrawn until 1938.

Portland was a popular destination for the paddle steamer Premier with seven trips being made daily by the vessel.

The paddle steamer's route has been revived in recent years with motor vessel excursions from Weymouth to Portland Castle.

The steam boat service introduced between Weymouth and Portland in 1848 took off, thanks in part due to crowds wanting to witness the construction of a great Victorian engineering project – the Portland Breakwater.

The harbour refuge was constructed for the newly-arrived Royal Navy and it became a big tourist attraction.

The route began with four daily return sailings between Weymouth and Portland when Captain Cosens hired the paddle steamer Highland Maid.

In 1851 rival concern, The Weymouth & Portland Steam Packet Company, was formed and placed the paddle steamer, Contractor, on the ferry service.

The arrival of the Great Eastern in 1852 following her boiler explosion caused great interest and in those pre health and safety days vast numbers of visitors were taken to visit the stricken vessel.

This resulted in a further competitor when a local solicitor purchased the paddle steamer Premier to visit Great Eastern.

And hence, the beginning of offering many pleasure trips on Premier to happy seaside daytrippers.