A Tale of Two Ships

There was once not one, but two Hispaniola ships in Scarborough.

Above: An illustration from Treasure Island, showing the Hispaniola – a fictional ship in Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novel that inspired the Scarborough imitation (source)

One, which has been mentioned here already, took children across Scarborough Mere on pirate-themed trips to dig for doubloons on Treasure Island.

Above: The Hispaniola on Scarborough Mere (source)

The other was moored at Scarborough Harbour for a brief period in the 1950s, having starred in films that included Moby Dick and, unsurprisingly, Treasure Island.

Above: The ‘other’ Hispaniola in Scarborough Harbour (source)

This ‘other’ Hispaniola started out as a schooner called Ryelands. It was built in the 1880s by Nicholson & Marsh at Glasson Dock in Lancaster, Lancashire, and first set sail on January 11th, 1887. A fire only one year earlier had threatened to destroy the ship, so its launch under the command of Captain William Marrow, was nothing short of a miracle.

Above: Glasson Dock today (source)

The Ryelands was bought by Captain Hugh Shaw in 1942. Having grown up in a seafaring family, Captain Shaw assigned command of the ship to his son Kenneth. For a short time it was used for trading in the Bristol channel.

Above: Captain Hugh Shaw (source)

However, fame was just around the corner for the Ryelands – after its sale in 1948 the vessel starred in the 1950 Disney film Treasure Island, which starred Bobby Driscoll and Robert Newton.

Above: Treasure Island film promotional material (source)

Below: The Ryelands as the Hispaniola in the film (source)

Other credits include assuming the role of Pequod in Moby Dick – a 1956 production starring Gregory Peck.

Above: Gregory Peck on board the Ryelands – this time masquerading as Pequod (source)

Below: The ship also had a role in TV show The Buccaneers – the 1950s CBS show starring Robert Shaw (source)

Following a mooring at Scarborough, the ‘other’ Hispaniola lived the remainder of its days in Morecambe, as a floating exhibit, before finally perishing in a fire in 1972.

You can see a picture of the schooner in its retirement at Morecambe by clicking here.

Ryelands’ alter ego, the Scarborough Mere Hispaniola, still survives, although is now moored at Scarborough Harbour, taking trips along the South Bay during the tourist season.

Do you remember the ‘other’ Hispaniola? Or the one that travelled across Scarborough Mere? Please comment below with memories, corrections and information.


Through Mighty Seas: A Maritime History Page

Ryelands Information Page

Web Archive



7 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Ships

  1. Pingback: A Third Hispaniola? | Stories From Scarborough

  2. Pingback: Sailing Adventures On Scarborough Mere | Stories From Scarborough

  3. I remember as a young boy visiting the Hispaniola in the harbour ,in the hold was a small aquarium with local fish on show, it used to be the highlight of my annual street trip from Hull in the early 50s . The other treat was the model railway with the Thomas the tank engine show.

    Regards Dave Baran

    • Thanks for commenting Dave – it’s great to hear from someone who remembers the harbour Hispaniola. If you remember anything more about this or any of the other listed attractions please do comment again!

  4. I remember the “Harbour” Hispaniola……and in that time frame ( the early 50´s ), for one or two seasons, four pleasure boats. The Regal Lady, The Yorkshire Lady, a wooden hulled boat from Gurnsey, and the larger and original Coronia…….Scarborough really was the place to be….

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