Spitfire’s launch got a brief mention in THE CHELMSFORD CHRONICLE Friday October 24th 1879.
LAUNCH OF A STEAM VESSEL – On Thursday, a steam vessel of 13 tons, built by Mr. W. Stebbings, for Mr. S. Addison, was successfully launched, in the presence of a large number of persons. The vessel, which was named the “Spitfire”, is a smart little craft and reflects much credit on Mr. Stebbings’s skill. An excellent dinner was afterwards provided at the Anchor Inn by direction of Mr. Addison, for a number of tradesmen and others.
Hervey Benham, in Essex Gold, suggested that Spitfire was paddle driven, but the photo above shows a screw. I do, however, still need to corroborate that CK360 and Spitfire are the same boat, so Mr Benham could still be right. The Colchester Register of Fishing Boats has a registration of CK48 for Spitfire, but that registration was from 1920, when she transferred to the ownership of Arnold Smith and was skippered by W. Ambrose. Spitfire was de-registered in 1941, when it was noted she was no longer used for fishing.
Photos from this period are quite scarce. It wasn’t until 1879 that the dry plate negative was developed and George Eastman didn’t develop flexible roll film until 1889. It is not known, at the moment, when the photo above was taken.