In the latest of our ‘On the Spot’ series, Terry Sylvester steps into the spotlight to answer our set questions. Terry has been a CRSC member since the mid 1960s and was recently awarded Honorary Membership in recognition of his pivotal role in saving Waverley for operational preservation in the 1970s. Over the following quarter-century and more, he worked tirelessly to keep her running.
What is your earliest memory of sailing on a Clyde steamer?
Ravenswood, P & A Campbell’s Clyde-built paddle steamer in 1946. Although I was only five, I know that I sailed with my aunt from Barry pier on a cruise ‘off Weston’. You couldn’t land at Weston-super-Mare at that time as the pier had not recovered from war-time use. I also sailed on exactly the same sailing the following day with my parents, on Glen Usk. On the Clyde I remember sailing aboard Caledonia in 1968.
What was the last sailing you took?
Last August — a Saturday sailing on Waverley from Glasgow to Tighnabruaich.
Holidays: Dunoon, Rothesay or Arran?
I never stayed on the Bristol Channel on holiday — it was always day trips — but, with my wife and children, we had holidays at Dunoon, Rothesay and Oban in the 1970s and 80s.
What is your favourite steamer?
In boyhood it was P. & A. Campbell’s Britannia, which was Clyde built. My favourite Clyde steamer was Duchess of Hamilton. Now it’s Waverley.
Which was Waverley’s best livery — LNER, CSP, CalMac or WSN?
LNER and WSN.
What was your favourite ‘Maid’ (if old enough) or ‘streaker’ (if young enough)?
None of these.
Jeanie Deans or Waverley?
Waverley now. JD is history for older people.
A new turbine has been built on the Clyde: what would you name her?
The name should be memorable and attractive for marketing – not a name from the past for the sake of nostalgia. If Waverley was no longer sailing this name would be the most recognised for present generations.
What would you like to see happen on the Clyde scene over the next few years?
In the 1950s Geoffrey Grimshaw criticised the CSP management, saying they would do well to sail on board their steamers, and if they listened to their passengers, they might hear something to their advantage. With Waverley, I did that as often as I could, and it was always a pleasure. I also learned a lot from liaising with the crew and enthusiasts — even if sometimes I didn’t agree with what they said. I’ve always tried to think as a passenger, and so I would urge present-day ship operators to do the same.
The best point-to-point route you’ve sailed on?
My Clyde sailings have been on all four of the steamers from 1968 onwards (Caledonia, Duchess of Hamilton, Queen Mary II and Waverley) and many trips incorporated point-to-point ferry routes. I do not recall having sailed on any Clyde passenger ship that could be designated as a ferry, as opposed to a pleasure steamer.
Which pier would you like to see re-open?
What direction would you like to see CRSC take in the next few years?
Focus on the younger generations.
If the CRSC had loads of money in the bank, what would you spend it on?
Promotion and marketing to increase membership of younger generations and include free tickets for under 21s to sail on Waverley.
What makes you continue your membership of the Club, year on year?
News, information and contact with friends.
What could the Club do better?
Attract younger members.
Terry Sylvester and Douglas McGowan have accepted an invitation to attend the CRSC meeting on Wednesday 14 March at Jurys Inn, Glasgow, when they will be formally welcomed as Honorary Members of the Club. Please join us in celebrating them and their achievements.
Previously ‘On the Spot’:
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