Newhaven hosts the 'Golden Arrow' service

By Derek Longly

Unfortunately I didn't keep a record of the exact date but it must have been around 1955-ish when I heard on the radio one morning (yes that was how one kept in touch in those days!) that the main rail line to Dover had been blocked by a land slip and that ferries which normally used the harbour there were being transferred to other ports for their sailings as a result.

It did not take me long to reach Newhaven after hearing this and I took up position on the East Pier in expectation of seeing some of  the transferred sailings and happily saw the elegant Canterbury waiting in the port.

My efforts were thus well rewarded when she sailed out headed for Calais, making a fine sight and I captured the scene as she departed.  In fact, moments after I took my photo the ship hit the West Quay a glancing blow, which must have shaken her passengers.

The story I subsequently heard was that this was the 'Golden Arrow' sailing for the day.  Although the Invicta was normally used on that service by then, apparently there were doubts as to whether Newhaven harbour could handle her as she was quite a lot bigger than the usual Newhaven ships.  Consequently Canterbury was put back onto this prestigious run for this one off occasion.

If anyone can confirm the exact date and verify any of this information I would be most interested to hear.

Photo:The lovely Canterbury departs Newhaven - a possibly unique occasion

The lovely Canterbury departs Newhaven - a possibly unique occasion

Derek Longly

This page was added by Derek Longly on 23/06/2011.
Comments about this page

Having checked at the museum, severe thunderstorms struck Sussex and Kent on the evening of 5th September 1958, with flooding and landslips blocking the railway lines. Canterbury was one of several short sea ships diverted here. Her destination on this sailing is recorded as Boulogne.

However, this is a daytime photo, so I suspect it may be the next day, 6th September 1958. The West Pier logs will confirm this - when I find them at the Museum!

Invicta also used Newhaven that day, so one or both of them would certainly have operated the Golden Arrow service.

By Andy Gilbert
On 31/10/2011

Thanks Andy for digging out this information - its seems that it may well indeed have been a unique event for the port.

By Derek Longly
On 18/11/2011

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