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© Transport for London
Collection of London Transport Museum

Loan object from: Glasgow Museum of Transport
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1:48 scale model of LCC paddle steamer "KIng Alfred", built 1905

King Alfred paddle steamer, 1905 : This was one of ten boats supplied to the London County Council by Napier & Milner of Glasgow. Each cost about £6000 and could carry 500 passengers along the Thames.
  • Reference number: 2005/495
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    See this object and other related objects from within the On the surface 1900-45 gallery

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    River services

    London’s river has been underused for passenger transport since the 1870s. The London County Council was determined to run a full riverboat service along the Thames to complement its new electric tram network. It acquired piers and ordered 30 new paddle steamers. A regular daily service started in June 1905, but never attracted enough passengers. In the first year, the steamboats lost over £30,000. The service was shut down in 1908 and the boats were sold. Ever since, most passenger boats on the Thames have carried leisure travellers, not commuters.


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