Houseboats were extremely popular in the 1800s. As is so often the case even in our modern times, such luxuries were mainly reserved for the aristocracy and upper middle class. In the 1800s, they formed an important part of London life. Owning, living, or throwing a lavish party on one of these vessels was seen as an important status symbol of the days gone by.
Houseboats looked to have peaked in 1888, when the Henley Royal Regatta notes some 84 houseboats lining the regatta course along with 55 launches. This would have been a sight to behold as the rivalry to throw the most opulent party, display of flowers, or ornate lantern sourced from the far east, would have made the atmosphere electric. The many boats, guests, servants and onlookers would have made this regatta one to note in history.
More information on the regatta can be found here: https://englandspuzzle.com/boats-on-the-thames/
Houseboats are also still big business today, with many still lining the major rivers of the world. Are these the future houseboats of the past?
And we know how large and impressive the old paddle steamer casinos are, which we included in our houseboats of the past.
In the next series of pictures, we get to see a glimpse of houseboats and just how much imagination and innovations must have gone into these creations. How fantastic the rivers and lakes may have really looked in the old world!
One ingenious houseboat owner appears to have designed two personal flying bicycles, capable of getting themselves ashore.