How realistic is that charming cross-channel ferry on the ceramic map at Victoria Station? A vintage poscard of the ferry Dinard, which sailed the route from Southampton to St Malo in Brittany, shows that it really was very similar to the map illustration.
In fact, the steamer on the postcard was effectively owned by the same company as the steamer chugging down the map. Dinard came into service in 1924, a year after the Southern Railway had been formed by the merger of several companies including the London, Brighton and South Coast whose map featured our first steamer. It was built by William Denny & Bros of Dunbarton for the Southern Railway Company and could carry 1500 passengers. The ferry crossings went on until 1960, interrupted only by World War II when it became a hospital ship and participated in the Dunkirk evacuations. In 1946, it was converted to a car ferry with a capacity of 900 passengers and 80 cars, the latter loaded and unloaded by crane. Finally, it was sold to a Finnish company before being withdrawn from service altogether in 1970.