Following on from my “Old Broads Tour Boats never die” post on here a couple of weeks ago, I’ve had some further information sent to me regarding the whereabouts of two of the old Broads Tours passenger boats.
Firstly, my thanks to Chris Moffatt, one of the houseboat Heather’s co-owners, who sent me details of Princess Margaret which was up for sale recently on the Thames through Henley Sales & Charter and Val Wyatt. She is now sold, but the sales details included some interesting information about her history. She was listed as having been built c1903/1904 by Herbert Bunn (father of Graham) and was constructed of Archangel redwood over oak with a teak superstructure and was originally commissioned for Sir Robert Price MP. It seems that her original name was Archangel and that she was later sold to “Billy” Smith at the Horseshoes public house at Hoveton – I presume this must refer to William Smith who was one of George’s sons. The sales listing also went on to say that Billy Smith became a director at Broads Tours when Charles Hannaford bought the business in 1935 and that it was at this time that Archangel was renamed Princess Margaret. In 1971 she was purchased by Cedric Lovewell who fitted a steam engine, extended the rear cabin, and ran her as a trip boat from Norwich. In 1975 she was fitted out as a Royal barge for the visit to Norwich of Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. She was sold after this and had a Vedette petrol engine installed and seems to have passed through the hands of several owners since, including hotelier and TV personality Ruth Watson. The name has reverted to Archangel and she now has a Beta diesel engine.
I mentioned in the previous blog post that the National Historic Ships Register entry for another of the ex-Broads Tours boats, Princess Mary, indicated that she had moved to Scotland and was operating as a trip boat from the Falkirk Wheel. I could find no mention of her on the Falkirk Wheel website but photographic evidence has now come to light via Flickr. This link to a photo taken by Flickr user mag379 shows Princess Mary there in December 2008 – this is the earliest photo found of her at Tamfourhill but there are quite a few others which also show Princess Mary there, although the latest so far seems to have been taken in 2010. I sent of an email to the visitor attraction to enquire whether she was still there but, as yet, have received no reply. If anybody happens to be that way then it would be nice to be able to confirm whether she is still one of their trip boats – a photo would be even better!
Further update 28/04/2012 – I’ve received information today that the passenger cruiser Her Majesty moved to the River Shannon in Ireland, but it seems as though she may have been accidentally crushed and, as a consequence, was sadly sunk. If anyone has any further information on this, or can confirm those details then please do get in contact.