TSSY Esperance - Captain Flint's Houseboat
The Windermere Steamboat Museum has now closed while the Lakeland Arts Trust tries to find ways to rescue this unique collection of boats. For further information on this project see the Windemere Steamboat Museum's website
In addition to the steam launches, the old Windermere Steamboats & Museum was a treat for lovers of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons, as it also housed the original Amazon, and the twin screw steam yacht, TSSY Esperance, on which Ransome based Captain Flint's houseboat (allegedly).
Reading the books to my kids, I was struck by the close watch that the adults were keeping on the kids, and by the fact that, as a child, I had completely missed the ambiguity in the relationship between the children's mother and their 'Uncle' Captain Flint.
Also on display was the SL Dolly of 1850 - the oldest mechanically powered boat in the world. Although she, like Esperance, is painted black and white, it is the beautiful polished wood of the other launches that sticks in the mind.
In 2011 they recived a substantial Heritage Lottery Fund grant, so let's hope it is not too long before it can be reopened to the public.