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Falmouth - Pill
River Fal Fleet List of the Pill Family

 

This page shows the River Fal Fleet of the Pill family. Many boats were operated independently by individual members of the family, and they frequently changed hands between family members. All vessels are included on this page however, with ownership details given where available. There is also a separate page on Falmouth Pleasure Cruises owned and run by John Pill, although his vessels are also shown here.

 

The Pill family have operated excursion boats and ferries from Falmouth for many years. In the early 1950s, George Pill built his own passenger boat, the White Lady. His brothers Gerald and Kenneth also owned passenger launches, including the Water Spry (ex-Victory Pleasures) and the Tamar Belle. In 1968 they brought the May Queen from Fleetwood to compete on the Falmouth-St Mawes ferry, the St Mawes Ferry Company having just put its fleet up for sale.

 

In the 1970s, George Pill bought the Skylark II and Temptress (1) from Bob Rogers (they were previously part of the Green Boats fleet). Temptress (1) was passed to Kenneth Pill and ran fishing trips until sold to Millbank owners in 1985 (later renamed Condor). In 1974, William Pill, George Pill, George Henry Pill and William Jenkins incorporated the Cornish Ferry (Red Funnel) Co.Ltd. They brought back the ex-St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd boat St Gerrans, and used her on excursions to the Helford River until 1988.

 

In 1977 the Pill fleet was May Queen, St Gerrans and Tamar Belle (3 boats). Further fleet additions included the Devon Belle, Westminster Belle and Tudor Prince. The Pill fleet in 1985 consisted of Devon Belle, May Queen, St Gerrans, Skylark II, Tamar Belle, Tudor Prince and Westminster Belle (7 boats).

 

The Pill fleet in 1987 consisted of Devon Belle, May Queen, St Gerrans, Tamar Belle and Tudor Prince (5 boats). The Devon Belle was replaced by the Princessa for the 1988 season, plus Kenneth PiIl was running the Temptress II. St Gerrans was disposed of after the 1988 season.

 

By 1991 the St Mawes Ferry Company had sold their three boats Nankersey, New Princess Maud and Princess Maria to the Pill family, who took over the running of the ferry. The fleet in 1991 became:- May Queen, Mayflower, Nankersey, New Princess Maud, Princess Maria, Princessa and Tudor Prince. Nankersey was sold in 1994, followed by Mayflower and Princess Maria by 1997. Adrian Gilbert joined the fleet in 1996, followed by the Queen of Falmouth two years later, although she was soon sold again.

 

The 2001 fleet was:- Adrian Gilbert, May Queen, New Princess Maud, Princessa and Tudor Prince. By 2003, Queen of Falmouth had returned to the fleet and Tudor Prince was now out of service, now run by just George Henry Pill. John Pill ran Princessa on his own account as Falmouth Pleasure Cruises. Later in the season, the Pill business was sold to Cornwall Ferries along with Adrian Gilbert, May Queen, New Princess Maud and Queen of Falmouth. Cornwall Ferries sold New Princess Maud back to George Pill in July 2004, but she passed to K & S Cruises in 2005 and has since been sold on again. She was at Tobermory as Sula Mhor 2006. Adrian Gilbert, May Queen and Queen of Falmouth were retained by Cornwall Ferries to run the St Mawes Ferry. George Pill continued to own the Torbay Prince (apparently reverting to her original name after being Tudor Prince for many years) which is currently laid up at Falmouth awaiting restoration. In 2007 he resumed excursion services with the Haven Rose, previously of Hurst Castle Ferries.

 
Vessels on This Page:-
Adrian Gilbert (Pill: 1996-2006, Built: 1957)
Devon Belle (Pill: 1979-1987 - Built: 1922)
Mayflower (Pill: 1991-1997, Built: 19??)
May Queen (Pill: 1968-2003, Built: 1939)
Nankersey (Pill: 1991-1994, Built: 1951)
New Princess Maud (Pill: 1991-2003, 2004-2005 - Built: 1950)
Princess Maria (Pill: 1991-19??, Built: 1927)
Princessa (Pill: 1986-2001 - Built: 1921)
Queen of Falmouth (Pill: 1998-2003 - Built: 1937)
St Gerrans (Pill: 1974-1988, Built: 1927)
Skylark II (Pill: 1981-1984, Built: 1940s)
Tamar Belle (Pill: 19??-c.1990, Built: 19??)
Temptress (1) (Pill: 1981-1985, Built: 1940s)
Temptress II (Pill: 1986-1997 - Built: 1942)
Torbay Prince (Pill: 2008?- Built: 1947)
Tudor Prince (Pill: 1983-2008? Built: 1947) - renamed Torbay Prince 2008?
Westminster Belle (Pill: c.1975-1985 - Built: 1947)
White Lady (Pill: c.1950-19??, Built: c.1950)
  
Other Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Pages:-
Cornwall Header Page
Falmouth 2008 Overview
Enterprise Boats
Falmouth Pleasure Cruises
Flushing Ferry
Green Boats
Isles of Scilly SS
K&S Cruises
Newman's Cruises
Pill Family - this page
River Fal Steamship Company
Scilly Inter-island Boats
St Mawes Ferry
 
Associated Pages:-
UK Excursion Ships and Ports
Ferry Postcards
Cruise Ship Postcards
Ocean Liner Postcards
Simplon Postcards Recent Updates
Simplon Postcards Home Page
 
References:-
Trip Out Guides - Written and published by G.P.Hamer - editions from 1977 to 2007
     Trip Out Guides are available from Geoffrey Hamer, PO Box 485, Southall, UB1 9BH
Passenger Steamers of the Rover Fal - Alan Kittridge - Twelveheads Press, 1988
Steamers & Ferries of Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly - Alan Kittridge - Tempus, 2004
     My thanks to Alan Kittridge, Graham Thorne, Geoff Hamer, Rhos Newman, John Hendy and John Pill for assistance with this page
 
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Falmouth - Pill
River Fal Fleet List of the Pill Family

 

 

 

White Lady

(Pill: c.1950-19?? - Built: c.1950)

 

  White Lady (centre) at St Mawes in the 1950s, with Skylark of Tolverne and New Princess Maud

Photo: Rhos Newman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water Spry

(Pill: 19??-19?? - Built: 19??)

 

Water Spry (pier end) at the Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth

Front row - Evelina, Marina (1), Freelance - Pier end: Water Spry

Photo: Rhos Newman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tamar Belle

(Pill: 19??-19?? - Built: 19??)

 

Tamar Belle on the River Fal in 1984

Photo: Alan Kittridge

 

 

Tamar Belle on the River Fal in 1987

Photo: Alan Kittridge

 

 

 

 

 

May Queen
(Pill: 1968-2003 - Built: 1939)
 
Built: 1939 - 60 ft long - 100 passengers
 
May Queen was built in Aberystwyth in 1939, and came to Fal from Fleetwood for the Pill family in 1968 for the St Mawes Ferry. She served on the St Mawes ferry whilst operated by Pill between 1991-2003, and passed to Cornwall Ferries with the route in 2003.
 
 
May Queen in Pill ownership, en route to Falmouth in 2002
Photo: © Jonathan Brown, 2002
 
 
May Queen (right) at Prince of Wales Pier in 2003, with Adrian Gilbert, and Princessa behind
Photo: © Jonathan Brown
 
 
May Queen with Cornwall Ferries, leaving St Mawes for Custom House Quay
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008
 
 
May Queen with Cornwall Ferries, at Custom House Quay, Falmouth
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008
 
 
May Queen with Cornwall Ferries, arriving at St Mawes
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008
 
 
 
 
 
St Gerrans
(1974-1988 - Built: 1927)
 
St Gerrans was built in 1927 by Cox of Falmouth. She was 73 gross tons. She ran on the Fal with the St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd from 1927 to 1968. She was with Thames Pleasure Craft 1971-74 and then returned to Fal for the Pill family's Cornish Ferry (Red Funnel). Sold in 1988 and converted to motor yacht, 1993.
 
 
Judges postcard 26450 of St Gerrans with the St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd
 
 
Judges postcard 26450 of St Gerrans with the St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd
Enlarged image from postcard above
 
 
Judges postcard 26450 of St Gerrans with the St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd

 

 

St Gerrans in Pill ownership on the Fal in 1984

Photo: © Alan Kittridge

 

 

St Gerrans in Pill ownership at Falmouth in 1986

Photo: © Alan Kittridge

 

 

 
 
 
Westminster Belle
(Pill: c.1975-1985 - Built: 1947)
 
The Westminster Belle arrived in the Pill fleet before 1977, and passed to Looe Cruisers & Ferries in 1985. She had previously run as Southend Belle, and on the Thames as Westminster Belle. She later served as Maid of Wareham and Maid of Exmouth. In 2004 the Maid of Exmouth arrived at Plymouth in the K.J.Bridge fleet, and was renamed Devon Belle V. Devon Belle V was still running in 2007, although K.J.Bridge had sold her to B.Squire, whilst remaining as skipper. She is the last surviving independent boat working in Plymouth and sails from their traditional site at West Hoe Steps where Plymouth's pier once stood.
 

 

Westminster Belle in Pill ownership in 1984

Photo: © Alan Kittridge

 

 

Devon Belle V in service at Plymouth

Photo: © Graham Thorne, April 2007

 
 
 
 
 
Devon Belle
(Pill: 1979-1987 - Built: 1922)
 
Devon Belle on was built in Berlin as the Maria in 1922 and by 1926 was at Great Yarmouth as the Manna. She was acquired by Millbrook in 1927 and renamed Devon Belle, the first of their 'Belles'. She then had a spell at Falmouth with George Pill until 1987 and was at Southsea until 1991. She then went to Poole as Maid of Brownsea and was reported in TRIP OUT as laid up there in 1993. I have no subsequent details.
 
 
Devon Belle in service with the Millbrook Company at Cremyll
The larger image also shows Northern Belle astern. It looks be just post World War 2.
Scan: © Luke Farley

 

 

Devon Belle in Pill service on the Fal in 1984
Photo: Alan Kittridge

 

 

Devon Belle in Pill service on the Fal in 1984
Photo: Alan Kittridge

 

 

Devon Belle in Pill service on the Fal in 1986
Photo: Alan Kittridge

 

 

Photograph of Devon Belle on Portsmouth-Spitbank Fort service in 1987.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 1987.

 

 

 

 

 

Skylark II

(Pill: c.1981-1984 - Built: 1942)

 

Built: 1942 - 47 ft long - 80 passengers


Skylark II was ex-Admiralty and ran with Newman, Tolverne from the late 1940s. She had been running from Jersey to France as St Aubin. Sold to
Green Boats in 1962 and to Bob Rogers in the late 1970s, then to the Pill family in the early 1980s. With Elworthy, Millbrook from 1984
, to Brixham c.1990 and with the Brixham Belles from c.2000 and renamed Mariner. Came back to the Fal with Cornwall Ferries 2003 and renamed Lady Julia. For sale 2004, and now running at Stourport-on-Severn as Skylark II (www.severnferry.co.uk).

 

Skylark II at Truro in 1953 in Newman ownership

Photo: © Rhos Newman

 

 

Postcard of Skylark II (left) at Malpas with Queen of the Fal (1)

Scan: Rhos Newman

 

 

Postcard of Skylark II (left) at Malpas with Queen of the Fal (1)

Enlarged view of the card above

Scan: Rhos Newman

 

 

Skylark II in Pill ownership

Photo: © Alan Kittridge

 

 

 

 

 

Temptress (1)

(Pill: c.1981-1985)

 

Temptress (1) was an ex-Admiralty launch, which was purchased by Green Boats in 1954. Temptress (1) went initially to local owner Bob Rogers in the late 1970s, who then sold her to George Pill in 1981. George later passed Temptress (1) to brother Kenneth Pill, who used her for fishing trips until 1985. She then went to Millbrook owners and later ran in Plymouth as Condor.

 

 

Temptress (1) on the River Fal in Green Boats service

Scan: Colin Hosford

 

 

Temptress (1) on the River Fal in Green Boats service

Scan: Colin Hosford

 

 

Temptress (1) on the River Fal in Green Boats service

Scan: Colin Hosford

 

 

Postcard of Temptress (1) at Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth, in Green Boats service

Front Row: Skylark of Tolverne, Skylark, Temptress (1), Marina II

Back Row: Unknown, Scotia, Evelina, Marina (1), Y Not

 

 

Postcard of Temptress (1) at Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth, in Green Boats service

Front Row: Skylark of Tolverne, Skylark, Temptress (1), Marina II

Back Row: Unknown, Scotia, Evelina, Marina (1), Y Not

 

 

 

 

 

Tudor Prince - Torbay Prince

(Built: 1947 - Pill: 1983- )

 

The Torbay Prince was the only purpose-built Torbay excursion boat, being completed by M.W.Blackmore for Devon Star Shipping Co (J.Kerr). There are reports that she briefly ran from Ipswich first, where the company ran River Lady and then River Lady II (River Lady moving to Torbay for the Western Lady Ferry Service where she retained her name). Torbay Prince ran in conjunction with the Western Ladies at Torbay.
 
The Harwich & Orwell Navigation Company had been formed in 1962 to run the Harwich/Felixstowe ferry service following its closure by British Railways. It was owned by George Goodhew and A.R.Grey. They used the ex-LNER/BR Brightlingsea on the ferry, and they also acquired River Lady II to run excursions. River Lady II was sold in 1963, and was replaced with Torbay Prince for a few years.
 
Torbay Prince returned west, and was later renamed Tudor Prince for service from Pembroke and Tenby in South Wales. She ended on the River Fal looking very smart in a red and cream colour scheme. In 2008 she is at Ponsharden on the Fal awaiting restoration, some work having been undertaken. She has been renamed Torbay Prince.

More images of Torbay/Tudor Prince

 

 

Devon Star Shipping advertising postcard of Torbay Prince

 

 

Torbay Prince on the Orwell or Stour.

Photo: © Philip Cone, 1968

 

 

A.Duncan photo of Torbay Prince at Harwich

 

 

Archway postcard P80 of Tudor Prince, advertising cruises from Pembroke Dock

 

 

Postcard of Tudor Prince in Pill ownership at Falmouth

Enterprise and Enterprise II on the right

 

 

Postcard of Tudor Prince in Pill ownership at Falmouth

 

 

Tudor Prince in Pill ownership at Falmouth in 1984

Photo: © Alan Kittridge

 

 

Tudor Prince in Pill ownership at Falmouth in 1986

Photo: © Alan Kittridge

 

 

Torbay Prince at Falmouth, undergoing restoration

Photo: © John Hendy, March 2008

 

 

Torbay Prince at Falmouth, undergoing restoration

Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008

 

 

Torbay Prince at Falmouth, undergoing restoration

Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008

 

 

Torbay Prince at Falmouth, undergoing restoration

Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008

 

 

Torbay Prince at Falmouth, undergoing restoration

Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008

 

 

Torbay Prince at Falmouth, undergoing restoration

Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008

 

 

 

 

 

Princessa

(Pill: 1986-2001 - Built: 1921)

 

Built: 1921 - 48 gross tons - 65 ft long - 127 passengers

 

Princessa was built by Camper & Nicholson in Gosport for the Port of Portsmouth Floating Bridge Company in 1921. She was intended for use as an excursion vessel rather than a harbour ferry. Princessa was used on trips around Portsmouth Harbour and across the Solent to Seaview. She was powered by a 2-cylinder compound engine by Plenty of Newbury. She was bought by the Solent Boating Company and fitted with a Gardner diesel engine and small deckhouse. Princessa was employed on Southampton Water and the Beaulieu River until 1986, when she moved to Falmouth to work for G.H.& W.G.Pill (later just G.H.Pill). Since 2001 she has been run by John Pill (as Falmouth Pleasure Cruises), and operates morning and afternoon cruises to the Helford River. She is the largest excursion boat on the River Fal. See www.boattrips-falmouth.co.uk for details.

 

 

Princessa running for John Pill (Falmouth Pleasure Cruises)

Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008

 

 

Princessa running for John Pill (Falmouth Pleasure Cruises)

Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008

 

 

 

 

 

Temptress II

(K.Pill: 1986-1997 - Built: 1942)

 

Built: 1942 - 45 ft long - 65 passengers

 
 Kenneth Pill was running a second boat Temptress II in 1986. She had previously been the Kentish Lady (presumably running in Maidstone since she was replaced by a Kentish Lady II ). He ran her until 1997 when she became the first boat in the K&S Cruises fleet. K&S Cruises replaced her in 2001 with a very similar launch Temptress (2) which had been running as the Mona Lisa at Kirkaldy.

 

 

Temptress II on the River Fal in 1986

Photo: Alan Kittridge

 

 

Temptress II on the River Fal in 1986

Photo: Alan Kittridge

 

 

 

 

 

Mayflower

(Pill: 1991-1994 - Built: 19??)

 

Mayflower at Plymouth in 1987 with Southern Comfort
Photo: Alan Kittridge

 

 

 

Nankersey

(Pill: 1991-1994, Built: 1951)

 

Built: 1951 - 23 gross tons - 45 ft long - 91 passengers

 

Nankersey was a wooden launch built in 1951, by Falmouth Boat Construction. She was 23 gross tons and had a small saloon and upper deck. She was on the Flushing Ferry from 1951 to 1976, and then worked for the St Mawes Ferry Co, who gave her a raised bridge and small funnel. By 1991 Nankersey was running for the Pill family, along with New Princess Maud and Princess Maria. Nankersey was sold to Fleetwood in 1994 and ran as Lady Victoria Belle. For sale 1998, no further records found.

 

 

Valentine's postcard L.1606 of Nankersey (bottom left)

With New Roseland and St Mawes Castle at Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth

 

 

Valentine's postcard L.1606 of Nankersey

Enlarged image from the postcard above

 

 

Nankersey on the St Mawes Ferry in 1984, with Skylark II
Photo: Alan Kittridge

 

 

Photograph of Lady Victoria Belle at Fleetwood in the 1990s

Photo: © Ian Boyle.

 

 

 

 

 

New Princess Maud

(Pill: 1991-2003, 2004-2005 - Built: 1950)

 

Wooden launch built 1950. Ran on the Fal from 1950 to 2005, initially with the St Mawes Steam Tug & Passenger Co Ltd and its successor the St Mawes Ferry Company. In 1991 she was sold to the Pill family along with Nankersey and Princess Maria, and remained on the St Mawes ferry. She passed to Cornwall Ferries along with the St Mawes ferry route in 2003, only to be sold back to G Pill in July 2004, then to K & S Cruises in 2005 and since sold on again. At Tobermory as Sula Mhor in 2006.
 

 

John Hinde postcard 2DC224 of New Princess Maud and New Roseland at St Mawes in St Mawes Ferry Company ownership

Photo: E.Ludwig

 

 

John Hinde postcard 2DC224 of New Princess Maud and New Roseland at St Mawes in St Mawes Ferry Company ownership

Photo: E.Ludwig - Enlarged image from card above

 

 

New Princess Maud on the St Mawes Ferry in 1987
Photo: Alan Kittridge

 

 

New Princess Maud in Pill service in 2001

Photo: © Jonathan Brown

 

 

New Princess Maud with the rebuilt Queen of Falmouth

Although in Cornwall Ferries ownerhip, New Princess Maud remains in red Pill livery and was sold back to them in 2004

Photo: © Jonathan Brown

 

 

 

 

 

Adrian Gilbert

(Pill: 1996-2003, Built: 1957)

 

Built: 1957 - 35 gross tons - 58 ft long - 100 passengers

 

Adrian Gilbert and Humphrey Gilbert were built for British Railways (BR) in 1957 for the Dartmouth-Kingswear ferry service. The service and the two sisters passed into local authority ownership in 1972, when BR closed the Kingswear branch beyond Goodrington. Both boats were sold in 1976 for use on the St Mawes ferry in Cornwall, but proved unsuitable and were bought back by BR for use on the Tilbury-Gravesend ferry. They again proved unsuitable for this route, but were re-engined and offered for sale. Adrian Gilbert was sold to Dart Pleasure Craft, who had taken over the Dart ferry from the local authority on 1st January 1977. In 1985, she was re-joined by her sister Humphrey Gilbert, now the Edgcumbe Belle. Adrian Gilbert was sold in 1996, joining G.H. & W.G.Pill of Falmouth, apparently proving more successful on the St Mawes ferry second time around. She passed to K & S Cruises as the Pride of Falmouth in 2006.

 

 

Postcard of Adrian Gilbert at St Mawes

 

 

Adrian Gilbert departing St Mawes in Pill ownership

 

 

Adrian Gilbert (left) at Prince of Wales Pier in 2003, with May Queen, and Princessa behind

Photo: © Jonathan Brown

 

 

 

 

 

Princess Maria

(G.H.Pill: 1991-19??, Built: 1927)

 

Princess Maria on winter overhaul in St Mawes Ferry Company colours

Photo: Alan Kittridge

 

 

Princess Maria on winter overhaul in St Mawes Ferry Company colours

Photo: © Jonathan Brown

 

 

 

 

 

Queen of Falmouth

(Pill: 1998-2003 - Built: 1937)

 

Built: 1937 - 34 gross tons - 56 ft long - 100 passengers

 

Queen of Falmouth was built as the Maid of Bute in 1937 and served at Rothesay. She is the sister of the Queen of the Fal, and it quite remarkable that they should both meet again on the Fal after so many years, and with such similar names. After service as Maid of Bute she became the Maid of the Forth, running on the Forth and at Southend before coming to the Fal for the Pill family in 1998 and receiving her current name. She spent one year in Plymouth 2000 with K.J.Bridge and passed to Cornwall Ferries in 2003. Completely rebuilt 2004 and since then on the St Mawes Ferry with Cornwall Ferries.

 

 

Maid of the Forth at Falmouth in 1997 prior to refitting as Queen of Falmouth

Photo: © Jonathan Brown

 

 

Queen of Falmouth at St Mawes

Photo: © Jonathan Brown

 

 

Queen of Falmouth after sale to Cornwall Ferries and given a major refit

New Princess Maud on the left

Photo: © Jonathan Brown

 

 

Queen of Falmouth in Cornwall Ferries ownership on passage to St Mawes from the Prince of Wales Pier

Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008

 

 

 

 

 

Haven Rose

(G.H.Pill: 2007- )

 

Built: 1970 - 19 gross tons - 42 ft long - 66 passengers

 
Haven Rose began running for G.H.Pill on the Fal in 2007. She had previously operated for Hurst Castle Ferries since c.1991 under the same name, before which she was the Maid of Brownsea with Harvey's Pleasure Boats of Poole from c.1987. She had been built as Medina Mist for P.D.Cole of Cowes in 1970, running excursions from Cowes Esplanade.
 

 

Haven Rose leaving the Prince of Wales Pier at Falmouth

Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008

 

 

Haven Rose in Falmouth Harbour

Photo: © Ian Boyle, 23rd July 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

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