A Brief History

The story of the boat begins with the name, 'Gollywog', this was the name of a turn of the century Admiralty's steam pinnace that plied the Thames before the War. This would be the boat John 'Jumbo' Goddard based his design on and went on to use the same name. Incidentally there was an identical boat named 'Daffodil' but this didn't really appeal to him.

1909 Simpson, Strickland and Co Gentleman's Day Cruiser

Goddard went on to have his design built by Halvorsen Gowland PTY in North Wyong, Australia. Seen here being launched in August 1975.

In 1978 the boat was imported to the UK by a close friend of his, Tom Wheatcroft, there is no documented history of his ownership but it is belived he removed the orginal 1910 double expansion steam engine and stored the vessel amongst his vast collection of vintage vehicles.


That is untill it was bought buy saviour to all things steam, Derrick Mills, who had the boat moored on the Thames for a while. As you can see here the lack of engine causing the bow sit high in the water but other than that the layout remained orginal. With the engine and boilers taking up the front half, open center cockpit and galley / seating in the rear.

In 1994 it became the project of engineer and scientist Alex Ritchie. Clearly not a fan of getting wet, he designed and fitted the central wheelhouse and front skylight. In the process raising the floor 12 inches, not only to help see out but to accommodate larger boilers underneath.

2002 saw the boat being moved from Esssex to Cheshire by current owner Roger Lees. He enthusiastically set about completing the restoration, stripping off old paint and installing his own steam propulsion. However as enthusiasm fizzled and costs mounted the project was increasingly left stood outside in the rain. 

Whilst this would be the death knell for most wooden boats, the solid houn pine and excellent construction allowed this arc to live on and in late 2012 it was moved into it's current home, a massive shed.

This is where I come in and the history becomes the present. Still working full time for Petersen Engineering I have decided with the help of experts, boat builders, craftsmen, parents and friends to take on the completion of this boat. Naturally with my own interpretation of how I think it should look and function mixed with what I believe will be most appealing to a prospective 'massive wooden boat' owner.

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© Elliott Hopkins