BUILDING THE SOUTHERN QUEEN
A PURPOUS BUILT BEACH LAUNCHED PLEASURE BOAT.
Commissioned by the Sayers family of Eastbourne the Southern Queen was one of two boats built by Mr R. Prangnell and Sons in Westham Village nr Pevensey. They hired the barn at Street Farm which bordered Westham High Street as their boat shed in Eastbourne near to the old Lifeboat Shed was too small ! They added an extension to one end of the barn so as to have enough length to build the boats.
The birth place of the Southern & Eastbourne Queens, the barn at Street Farm. Note the extension on the front.
Both the Farm and the Barn have long gone and a block of garages now occupies the space where the Barn once stood which is east of the old horse pond now known as Westham Village Pond. The hull construction is called clinker (overlapping planking) and the timber is Elm planks on Oak frames which has a lot to do with her surviving so long.
Part of the building process of the Southern Queen, A 15 year old Roland Prangnell can be seen far left with the hammer.
She first saw the light of day in late 1947 when she was pulled out of the barn to be painted as there was so little room left when she was finished.
First day in the sun and with her new now iconic white paint work. You can just see the extension on the barn in the left hand photo.
Many books say that the Southern Queen was taken to Normans Bay for launching, this is far from the truth, how would you get a 50 foot monster around the bends at Pevensey Castle? Answer is you would not. She was taken in late 1949 by road to Eastbourne on the back of a Pickfords low loader and as you can see from the photo it brought Westham to a standstill this attracted quite a crowed, her engines were fitted in Eastbourne and she was finally launched in May 1950.
The S/Q in all her road blocking glory. The building far left is the now gone Railway Hotel.
The Southern Queen has spent all her life in and around Eastbourne and worked side by side with her sister the Eastbourne Queen for many years under the owner ship of Ernest ‘Glaxo’ Sayers.
Left Mr E ‘Glaxo’ Sayers in 1959 with the S/Q and right the ‘QUEENS’ in 1960.
By the start of the 1960’s the only two family’s left running boating trips were the Sayers and the Allchorns, a hard thing to understand as at one time pleasure boats stretched from the Redoubt Fort all the way along to the Wish Tower, 200 years and two families left and in 1965 there was only one when Ernest retired and sold the Queens to the Allchorns.
They kept the Southern Queen as she was the best boat of the two and carried out a fair bit of work on her before she then became the sister to the William Allchorn and the local attractions we all know and love, the story of the Eastbourne Queen does not have a happy ending, she spent some time in Newhaven and Hastings as a fishing boat and then went along to Dover for a while, sometime later she was sold and taken to the Norfolk Broad’s to be converted to a House Boat, she later sunk and was lost for good. We believe that the S/Q is the last surviving vessel built by Prangnell & Son.
The Eastbourne Queen. Mr. R. Prangnell builder, with the Southern Queen