Southampton Heritage Experience
In 1887, Mr Fry, the lessee of the pier tolls was succeeded by Mr James Percy, so beginning the long and happy association of the Percy family with the pier and ferry which continued for more than a century.
Their family firm, the General Estates Company, bought the steamers then operating between Hythe and Southampton.
James Percy was a direct descendant of Sir Henry Percy, first Earl of Northumberland and father of Harry, called Hotspur, known as the small warrior with the great heart, for his valorous deeds in the 14th century.
Hotspur became the name of family’s ferry boat, and five others have followed.
The original Hotspur entered service in 1889 and ran until 1927, when the replacement Hotspur was introduced. The original Hotspur was renamed the GEC. Eventually she was stripped of her engine, boiler and anything else of any value, towed into Dibden Bay, and left to rust away! (there is a picture of the second Hotspur on Town Quay on he wall opposite Monsieur Hulot’s coffee shop).