Black Dwarf, Lydney, Glos., 1st ed., 2005. 320 pp., profusely illustrated with rare photographs, paintings, plans, sailing bills & other ephemera. D.j., 28 x 22cm. FINE. Bookplate. For more than a hundred years, Cosens & Co. operated paddle-steamers along the coasts of Dorset, Devonshire, and Hampshire, sailing out of their home port of Weymouth and their seasonal berths at Bournemouth and Swanage. Summer excursions westwards to Torquay and Dartmouth ; eastwards to the Solent and Isle of Wight – and even beyond, across the English Channel to Cherbourg and Alderney in the Channel Islands. Cosens was established in 1848 in order to offer an efficient transport link to Portland with the construction of the great breakwaters and prison there. It grew, however, thanks to the development of the railways and the popularity of seaside resorts and the building of piers which could be used for berthing. Leading up to war in 1914, the company was in fierce competition with its rivals, its tugs involved in dramatic rescues and salvage operations at sea, and its smaller vessels kept busy ferrying liberty men ashore from the naval fleet based in Portland Harbour, or carrying supplies to the breakwater forts. The author describes the exciting years from 1848 to the end of the First World War, enhancing his narrative with numerous rare photographs, paintings, plans, sailing bills and other ephemera. FINE copy.