Opulent Saloons and an Engine Room

The steam yacht Gondola is a rebuilt Victorian, screw-propelled, steam-powered passenger vessel on Coniston Water, England. Originally launched in 1859, she was built for the steamer service carrying passengers from the Furness Railway and from the Coniston Railway. She was in commercial service until 1936 when she was retired, being converted to a houseboat in 1946. In 1979, by now derelict, she was given a new hull, engine, boiler and most of the superstructure. She is back in service as a passenger boat, still powered by steam and now operated by the National Trust. SourceWikipedia.

The Illustrated London News of 7 July 1860 reported after her maiden voyage that the first class saloon was “beautifully finished in walnut wood and cushioned and decorated after the style of the royal carriages of our railways.”


Locomotion Enterprises, a training company in the North-East of England, got the task of building the new engine whilst W Bertram & Sons of South Shields provided a new high-pressure boiler, fittingly to the same design as the Ffestiniog Railway’s locomotive Prince.

If you find yourself in the Lake District then I can recommend a cruise on this beautiful boat.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

28 thoughts on “Opulent Saloons and an Engine Room”

    1. A very pretty steam yacht and only 50p more than the normal launch. A bit pricey for 45 minutes though.

    1. They have done a marvellous job on her. Beautiful engine and gorgeous rooms – a pity they don’t offer High Tea!

        1. Read the first two and realised I’m going to have to take time to read the lot ! What a great site you have, Jude !

        2. Haha – take all the time you want, they aren’t going anywhere 🙂 I must admit having a fondness for old buildings and ruins – must be an age thing 😉

    1. On Lake Coniston Sylvia. And only a 45 minute cruise as the landings at the south of the lake were damaged in the winter storms, a shame as I planned to get off at one and walk to another then catch the boat back. Still a lovely way to spend some time.

  1. Wow, how very beautiful. I once toured the Queen Mary at port – it was magnificent. They just don’t make them like this any more – but don’t you love that they’ve refurbished and available again?

    1. We stayed on the Queen Mary at Long Beach! As you say a wonderful ship – beautifully restored. It is the same with old steam engines. So glad skilful volunteers take the time to repair and maintain these lovely machines.

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