A warm, friendly Heather welcome

We are delighted to share Heather, an historic boat, artistic refuge and home for over a century, laying on the ancient Broads Waterways of Norfolk.

It is our aim to preserve the distinctive character of Heather, enabling future generations to enjoy her charms. We welcome you to explore the houseboat and bountiful riverside beyond...

Andrew, Timothy and Christopher

31 August 2013

Swallows and Amazons film inspiration

Forty years ago, a film was made based on Arthur Ransome's first foray into children's literature. The Swallows and Amazons is an adventurous story about a gang of children who have a summer holiday of high adventure in the Lake District in 1929.

Swallows and Amazons captures an age when children were largely left to their own devices, learning to handle boats and make camp whilst exploring the locality. Friendship, self reliance and fair play are reoccurring values in the books. Ransome's wise words still resonate today: 'If not duffers, won't drown'.

We draw inspiration from Arthur Ransome's imaginative stories. A fictional stationary houseboat called FRAM, was a central element. The basis for the houseboat is thought to be a former Steam Yacht ESPERANCE, with graceful clipper bows and stern. She was anchored on Lake Windermere during the 1920's. The yacht is now on display at the renowned Steamboat Museum (presently under refurbishment), on the shores of Lake Windermere at Bowness (or Rio). There is usually a splendid display of belongings of the fictional occupant, Jim Turner or 'Captain Flint' on board including a green parrot, sun helmet and a signalling cannon on deck. SY GONDOLA, laying on Lake Coniston was also used as a houseboat. Gondola is now steaming again, taking passengers sightseeing.

Heather is altogether a different houseboat, in a different setting, but there are similarities to examples in Ransome's Broadland books. Debate continues about the pedigree of Heather, although research continues.

Ransome's enduring water based stories and their locations draw people from around the world. Find out more about Arthur Ransome and the film on writer and producer, Sophie Neville's website.


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King's Head Staithe, Hoveton, pictured from Wroxham public Parish Staithe