Le Havre paddle steamer
Built by Chantier Normand at Le Havre in 1851, Le Gygne ran for many years between Le Havre, Trouville and Rouen. After a change of ownerhip in 1894, she was transferred to the Gorey-Carteret route and underwent a complete refit in 1896-97. She was finally scrapped in 1912.
She was originally operated by La compagnie des paquebots à Vapeur Le Havre–Caen, which, in 1890, became Cie Anonyme des Paquebots à Vapeur entre Le Havre, Caen, Honfleur, et Les Ports de la Normandie
Although some histories suggest that she was on this route until 1907, one of our photographs dates from 1909, and another perhaps from the following year, nearly 60 years after she was built, which was an extraordinary time in service for a boat built in the middle of the 19th century.
She was 42.3 metres long with a beam of 5.1 metres, and could carry 400 passengers and 78 tons of cargo. The refit extended her length to 45 metres and added passenger accommodation. She was of unusual construction, with the funnel forward of the bridge. She was lucky to be completed because a fire which ravaged the shipyard was extinguished by workers outside the building where she was under construction.
Le Cygne, which spent winters at her home port of Rouen, is not to be confused with Cygnus, another, larger paddle steamer, which was built in 1854 and operated between Jersey and Weymouth from 1857.