Pleasure Wherry Hathor
Pleasure Wherry Hathor is perhaps the most special sailing vessel in the whole of Norfolk, if not the country. Everything about her draws you back to a slower age, whilst also drawing you into the mysticism of Egypt and of the goddess of love and joy after whom she is named.
The Pleasure Wherry Hathor (pronounced Heart-or) was built by Daniel Hall of Reedham for Ethel and Helen Colman, daughters of Jeremiah J Colman of mustard fame. Her Egyptian theme and name serve as a memorial to their brother, Alan, who died in 1897 on a trip to Egypt that, it had been hoped, would cure his tuberculosis. You can read more, and see photos from the Boardman archive, here. From the Colmans, Hathor passed to Claud Hamilton, author of Hamilton's Guides to the Broads, and then to the Martham Boatbuilding and Development Company where she was used as a houseboat. It was from here that she was acquired, in a somewhat dilapidated state, by Wherry Yacht Charter in 1985, after which she underwent a 2-year restoration so that she could be offered for charter once again.
All the Egyptian influences on Hathor's interior have been lovingly and carefully restored. The hieroglyphics may not mean much in translation, but they look wonderful. The woodwork is astonishing: lotus flowers of teak and dyed sycamore are inlaid all over the saloon, while animals and other symbols adorn the doors. The marquetry takes its inspiration from Egyptian artifacts in the British Museum and was designed by Edward Boardman, brother-in-law to Ethel and Helen Colman and architect of How Hill House overlooking the River Ant. A unique Arts and Crafts oil lamp featuring serpents' heads hangs from the saloon ceiling (right), and while new gas and battery lamps were fitted when she was prepared for charter, they took their design from one of the hieroglyphic symbols.
Pleasure Wherry Hathor has no motor and requires more work to sail than the Wherry Yachts, yet she remains the older and more elegant flagship of the fleet. She looks similar to the privately-owned wherry Solace, but can be recognised by the distinctive white, red and green pattern on her mast, and her usual vane featuring a "Jenny Morgan" figure. Under certain conditions this is replaced by another, taller vane (left) offering more clearance over the blocks of her rigging, which shows a capital H inside a golden toothed wheel.
Current Status: Hathor is still in sailing order, but after the 2009 tour she had to retire and await an out-of-the-water survey. This is an insurance requirement before she can become available to carry passengers once again, but as well as the structural work the survey will undoubtedly identify, she needs an extensive internal refit to bring her back to a suitable standard for charter work. We will update the website as progress is made.
Beam: 14ft 3in
Sail area: 1,175 sq ft
Gross tonnage: 23.01
Built: 1905, Reedham