Steam launch Branksome is the flagship of the Windermere Jetty collection. She has a clipper bow and a counter stern, and is a unique example of the height of Victorian design and engineering on Windermere.
Branksome was built in 1896 by George Brockbank of Windermere for Mrs Edna Howarth of Langdale Chase, whose stone-built boathouse was specially built for the vessel. Branksome is a luxuriously designed boat built for use on Windermere and cost around four times as much to build than similar boats in the collection. Branksome was originally named Lily after Edna Howarth’s daughter. She was owned by Mrs Howarth until 1919 and then passed to the Cowburn family who kept her until around 1958 when she was sold to George Pattinson.
The hull is constructed using 50 foot long lengths of varnished teak and is painted with a red plimsoll line and green hull. The engine is the original, having been built in 1896 by W. Sisson & Co. Gloucester and is numbered 502.
As the finest surviving steam launch on the lake Branksome had the honour of carrying HRH Prince Philip for a trip during his visit in 1966. HRH The Prince of Wales also came on board after the opening of the Windermere Steamboat Museum in 1977.
In 2008 Branksome was taken out of the water for conservation. In 2016 the Museum’s conservation team put right old repairs to the hull below the waterline. They also hand-carved a new figurehead based on the original style of carvings seen at Langdale Chase, the home of Branksome’s first owner, Edna Howarth.
Branksome is currently being preserved by our conservation team and will be the main feature of the exhibition, sitting in a specially made dry dock in the centre of the display space. The boat is nearly all original and many of the features are being carefully conserved to retain the original material and patina that shows its history. The leather seating is being conserved by a textile specialist and will be displayed in the boat, fitted out with the original walnut panelling, velvet upholstery, carpets and leather seats. The silver tea service will be laid out and there is a marble hand basin in the galley.
|Builder||George Brockbank of Bowness|
|Engine||Steam compound, bore 7.5" and 11", stroke 7" (original) by W Sisson & Company, Gloucester, 1896|
|Boiler||Locomotive, side-fired by Hunslet Steam Company, Leeds, 1971|