29 Jun POOLE HARBOUR COMMISSIONERS CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF FERRY SERVICE TO CHERBOURG
Today Poole Harbour Commissioners celebrates 50 years since the first ferry service to Cherbourg.
On 29 June 1973, the freight service was established by the then operator Truckline with ship “Poole Antelope”.
This was initially a freight service only and was a re-establishment of the service that started in 1865, with the first freight ferry service “Albion”, which ceased operating in 1868.
The first ever recorded excursion from Poole to Cherbourg actually dates back to 31 July 1846 (“wind and weather permitting”) with the “Water Witch”. She would leave Poole at 8pm for Cherbourg (67 miles distant) and after the 8 hour crossing, the passengers at 20 shillings a head (today’s value of £100), would have 3 days in France. Water Witch was too small for such cross-channel services, and so in February 1848, she was offered for sale and the company was dissolved.
Water Witch Paddle Steamer
In 1977 Poole was twinned with Cherbourg, and 137 years after the first recorded passenger excursion, a day trip took place on 6 September 1983 from Poole Quay. This was a charter of Townsend Thoresen “Free Enterprise V”, and she carried 899 foot passengers on board.
Poole was twinned with Cherbourg in 1977
Day trip to Cherbourg from Poole Quay on 6 September 1983 with 899 foot passengers
Passengers queuing to be processed using the then Harbour offices building
The re-establishment of the passenger ferry service from Poole to Cherbourg then took place in 1986 with “Cornouailles”, Brittany Ferries’ second purposely-built ship.
Jim Stewart, Poole Harbour Commissioners’ Chief Executive, said: “Today marks 50 years since the beginning of the ferry service to Cherbourg on 29 June 1973. 50 year later, PHC remains committed to growing RoRo ferry activity by continuing to identify business growth opportunities from existing and new customers.”
All images and archives credit to David Warhurst and the Poole-Cherbourg Twinning Association.