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 Museumʼs website
In addition to the steam launches, the old Windermere Steamboats & Museum was a treat for lovers of Arthur Ransomeʼs Swallows and Amazons, as it also housed the original Amazon, and the twin screw steam yacht, TSSY Esperance, on which Ransome based Captain Flintʼs 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 childrenʼs 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 letʼs hope it is not too long before it can be reopened to the public.