Roundhay Park, Leeds

The Mary Gordon was built in 1898 on the Thames of teak planking on oak frames, by Sergeants, boatbuilders of Eel Pie Island. At that time electric boats or launches were very popular on the Thames and The Mary Gordon was one of the largest, at 52 ft. (11 m.). She could carry 75 adults or 120 children in comfort. Diagrams from The Electrical Engineer October 5th 1900, show plan and elevation.

The Mary Gordon had been commissioned by Leeds City Council, to use on Waterloo Lake in their newly acquired Roundhay Park. The boat was made of Burmese Teak. In 1899, the Mary Gordon was transported up to Yorkshire on the back of a steam lorry, to Roundhay Park, Leeds. Roundhay Park had been purchased by Leeds City Council to be used as a public park and was opened by Prince Arthur in 1872. (The park is still immensely popular as you can spend all day in the massive tropical conservatory).

This photo shows the Mary Gordon boat ready for launching. It was taken on a foggy winter day with a long exposure so the figures are blurred. The lady on the left is Mary Gordon, the Lady Mayoress of Leeds, after whom the boat was named. Cables stretch across the path from the boat to a device by her which would release the boat into Waterloo lake sideways. After the launch for the next week all the school children had a free ride in the boat.

This picture shows the Mary Gordon on the lake.

This picture shows the Mary Gordon in use in 1902 on the lake at Roundhay Park.

The final image here is a postcard, showing the Mary Gordon on the lake. (Image provided by Tony Griffin)


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