Make UNKNOWN, KENSINGTON ENGLAND
Owner VICTORIA FASH
Model VICTORIAN ENGLISH GENTLEMEN’S LAUNCH
City NEWPORT BEACH
In her day, Humble was considered the most beautiful yacht on the Thames River.
She hosted many distinguished guests, including English and European Royalty. In fact, she was so popular that the Prince of Wales commandeered her for a grand European tour in the early 1900s. Celebrating over 100 years of history, Humble is an English “Victorian Gentleman’s Launch”. Built in Kensington England, circa 1902, Humble is believed to be the largest surviving electric boat of her era. Her 52-foot hull is built of mahogany on an oak frame. She is powered electrically, by a Nelco 3KW electric motor, with a bank of 24 batteries.
Humble did her patriotic duty for Great Britain. During World War II, she served as a “fire boat” at the London docks, where her job was to put out warehouse fires caused by the many bombs falling on London. Named “Abel 1”, she was fitted with a diesel engine and steam driven pump, to produce high jets of water – – which put out the Blitz fires and saved lives.
In 1950, she became a popular feature in the Windsor section of the Thames. The Golding brothers of Windsor converted her to carry passengers. They renamed her Humble in 1960, after their grandmother, who was known as “Humble by nature, Humble by name”.
Humble has undergone many restorations in the last 100 years. Yet her beautiful features, including a lovely raked bow, and the very graceful counterstern, remain constant. The saloon was added in 1981 designed after a boat in the English National Maritime Museum. One of the most famous boat builders on the Thames River, Peter Freebody, did this major restoration. Later, in 1989, his student, Rupert Latham, re-converted her to run under electric propulsion.
By year 2002, she had become a floating wreck. Derelict, prevented from sinking only by the straps of a crane, she was in a bad state of disrepair. However, her beautiful lines convinced a new owner to restore her to her former glory. Mark Stanley, of Stanley and Thomas, one of the top two boat builders currently working on the Thames, did a full restoration, including extensive hull and keel work.
Subsequently she was lovingly maintained by the best boat builder on the river, Colin Henwood for many years, who replaced several rotten planks in her hull, added a number of improvements in her powering, and three times sanded her down to wood and redid her entire stunning varnishing work.
Her owner repatriated to America in 2012, and simply did not have the heart to part with this treasure of a boat. So Humble made the journey across the Atlantic, and is now in Newport Beach to grace our harbor with her beautiful presence. She is a piece of living history.