Esperance was built in Glasgow for the wealthy industrialist Henry Schneider (1817-1887) who lived at Belsfield at Bowness. He used her to commute to Lakeside where he would board his private train to his office in Barrow.
The yacht was built on the Clyde, sailed to Barrow-in-Furness and transported from there by train. Schneider was also a director of the Furness Railway Company and had the track altered so the boat could get under the bridges. Esperance was made of the highest grade of iron, produced by one of Schneider’s companies, and originally powered by two steam engines. She is thought to be the first twin-screw steam yacht built in the UK.
Esperance was sold to the Ferry Hotel and carried visitors, including Beatrix Potter, to the hotel for afternoon tea and to Wray church on Sundays. In the 1920s she became a houseboat and was Arthur Ransome’s inspiration for Captain Flint’s houseboat in Swallows and Amazons.
Esperance sank in 1941 but TC Pattinson salvaged her. George Pattinson installed two Ford model B petrol engines in 1956. Esperance appeared in the 1963 film of Swallows and Amazons.
Esperance has been stabilized according to our conservation management plan and is awaiting further conservation.
Twin-screw: Using two screw propellers to push a boat through the water.
|Builder||TB Seath & Company, Rutherglen|
|Engine||J&W Dungeon diagonal twin-screw compound|