In April 2015 Dennis Whittaker gave an interesting talk about the Sailing Yacht “Gondola”. He explained that it was based on a vessel called a “burchiello” not a gondola and its design is similar to the Royal Barge “Gloriana” used in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. It was designed by Ramsden and built in Liverpool by O..Jones and Quiggin, entering service in 1860.
The Dukes of Cavendish and Buccleuch financed the scheme and their coats of arms decorate the bow and stern. The engine was based on railway steam engines and sited at the rear, so passengers had the views without the fumes.
The first class saloon decor was based on those used in royal railway compartments. The “Gondola” was laid up during the First World War, taken out of service in 1936, eventually returning to Coniston in 1963 when it was submerged to preserve it. In the 1970s the National Trust raised £400,000 towards restoration. Apprentice trainees at Barrow Shipyard built the new hull and the new roof was also built there. The “Gondola” was re-launched in 1980.