Call: 01491 578 870 | [email protected]

Hero - a unique Victorian electric launch


HERO was originally named Avondale but this was changed to the current and much more descriptive name Hero in 1972. A true survivor, she was built by Andrews of Maidenhead in 1898 and is one of the finest and very few surviving electric Thames launches of the Victorian era. She was later converted to a petrol engine and in 1969 was converted once more, this time to steam power and in this form appeared in The Onedin Line and King Edward VII television series. For a while during the height of the John Player cigarette era the boa featured in their advertisements. She was however under steam at that time.

The 34ft (10.36m) hull is carvel constructed of teak on oak frames with mahogany decks. She is once again powered by electricity and was in 2014 subject to a full and meticulous restoration to original condition by Classic Boatworks in Norfolk and must be one of the most beautiful renovations this boatbuilding team ever completed. The then proprietor of Classic Boatworks, Rupert Latham, is an expert in electric propulsion and therefore the right person to be involved in the rebuild of such an historic boat. 

Indeed Hero (Avondale) is featured in the late Edward Hawthorne's book, 'Electric Boats on the Thames'. The 4kW direct drive motor and zero maintenance deep cycle gel batteries are housed under the cockpit floor providing ample and comfortable seating for up to 9 passengers. There is an awning in off white and fringe high lighted in light beige. The seating consists of an aft seat made of mahogany with a cane seat back, 1 x Lloyd Loom chair for helm, 2 more Lloyd Loom chairs forward of the helm position and all round bench seat forward for 4 + passengers. The canopy is 2/3 length leaving the forward bench seats open. 

A previous owner of Hero (then Avondale) told us that she was moored for many years at Cliveden when the Astor family were in residence and he was a friend of the family while at Eton. 

She was a finalist in Classic Boat's awards following her refit and was shown later that year at the Goodwood Revival in Sussex alongside millions of pounds worth of classic cars. 

HERO is for sale at  Beale Park boat store where she can be viewed by appointment.

Please call us for more information on 01491 578870


John Andrews of Maidenhead
Year of build
circa 1898
5ft 8ins
Inboard electric propulsion

Please call Gillian on 01491 578 870 for more information


Henley Sales and Charter Ltd have gained a reputation over the last 30 years for selling and chartering beautiful, classic boats. Experience of operating and selling boats on the river Thames enables us to offer expert objective advice to prospective owners on all aspects of boat ownership including purchase, surveys, repairs and moorings. We will do our best to find the ideal craft to suit your individual needs - for a day or for a lifetime.

Henley Sales & Charter Ltd

29 Station Road
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire


01491 578 870
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