I received an email this week which rekindled my interest in the history and current whereabouts of the old Broads Tours passenger launches, and also reminded me that I had a couple more snippets of information to add to the blog.
It’s fantastic that little pieces of the Broads Tours story are still coming in and the latest addition is an absolute gem! Chris Bird contacted me with a photograph of the framed poster he had received as a Christmas present which advertises the Norfolk Broads tours offered by William Littleboy at Wroxham in the 1920s/1930s. The Littleboy connection to Charles Hannaford’s Broads Tours business was mentioned in two of the previous blog posts I’ve written in this ongoing series, More Broads Tours and Princess Mary, which seemed to indicate that, along with purchasing George Smith’s original Broads Tours business in the mid 1930s, Hannaford had also acquired some of William Littleboy’s fleet of passenger cruisers around the same time.
This fabulous poster includes photographs of the launches that Littleboy was running at this time, most (if not all) of which ended up in Hannaford’s Broads Tours fleet. I am still struggling to find much in the way of reference to William Littleboy although I recently came across a little snippet of information in the book “The Elanco Story – 75 Years of Landamores” written by John Yaxley. He mentions that the passenger launch Duchess was designed and built by E.C. Landamore at Wroxham in the 1920s for a cost of £579 3s 11d, and that in the early 1930s, Ted Landamore sold his fleet of day boats to “Billy” Littleboy and also built the passenger launch Empress for him. It does seem strange that I’ve found so little information about William Littleboy or his business – maybe I’m just looking in the wrong places – but if anyone can provide any further history or photographs then please do get in contact. Chris is going to try to get a better photograph of the poster for me to upload to the main Broadland Memories website but, in the meantime, my thanks to him for allowing me to use this one on here. It’s a a great early record of the launches which became part of the Broads Tours fleet and all the more interesting that many have visible registration numbers.
The photograph of Countess on the Littleboy poster reminded me that I had a newspaper cutting to add to the Broads Tours story too, by courtesy of the collection of scrapbooks belonging to Ray Walker which he kindly loaned me to scan a few years ago. It dates from 1976 and was the footnote for a report on the River Commissioners cruise of that year, with Countess being one of two Broads Tours launches used for the trip. It’s a lovely photograph of Countess, the article mentioning that she was built at Wroxham in 1899 and was originally called Osprey – 1899 seems a rather early build date for a launch of this style to me? The other launch used on the river tour, which apparently took in the delights of the Upper Thurne, was the aforementioned Duchess which, according to John Yaxley, was moved to York when she left the Broads Tours fleet
Finally, for now, I’ll leave you with a postcard which dates from the 1950s and shows the Broads Tours base at Hoveton.
Previous blog posts on Broads Tours in chronological order: