The Collection

The Windermere Steamboat Museum has a nationally important collection of historic vessels demonstrating the continuous development of boatbuilding in the Lake District over 200 years from 1745. The collection, however, dates from 1200 all the way through to the late 20th century and is an important part of the dispersed national boat and maritime collection. 

The collection was officially recognised as one of national significance when the 11 boats owned by the founder’s family was transferred to the Lakeland Arts in 2007 through the Government’s Acceptance in Lieu Scheme. This enabled the whole collection to remain together, since the museum’s holding passed to the Trust when the two bodies merged. The collection comprises:
• Two dugout boats dating from between 1200 and 1320 showing the earliest form of boat construction;
• Five yachts charting sailing on the lake from the 18th Century to late 20th Century;
• An 1870 Windermere ferry boat and copper ore barge;
• Ten steamboats ranging in age from 1850 to 1907;
• Seven rowing boats and a group of canoes, demonstrating the development of recreational sport and
leisure activity;
• Seven motor boats and six speed boats highlighting the move from steam to petrol and the desire to bid for new waterspeed records from the 1920s through to 1950s;
• Other material including archives, photographs, paintings, craft tools, costume, film and oral recordings which tell the story of the boats, their owners and uses.
The collection is currently in dry storage whilst their conservation and maintenance continues. Steam Launch Osprey is the first of the collection to be fully restored and is currently being worked on in the conservation workshop. Click on the link below to find out more about Osprey’s history and construction. More information and photos of the boat will be added as the restoration progresses.
Highlights of the Collection
SL Osprey 1902 Steam Launch
SL Dolly 1850 Steam Launch
TSSY Esperance 1869 Steam Yacht
SS Raven 1871 Steam Ship
SL Branksome 1896 Steam Launch
SL Kittiwake 1898 Steam Launch
SL Otto 1896 Steam Launch
SL Swallow 1911 Steam Launch
SL Lady Elizabeth c.1900 Steam Launch
MV Canfly 1922 Motor Boat
MV Jane 1937 Motor Boat
1898 Motorboat 1898 Motor Boat
Speed Boats 1930 - 1960 Motor Boats
Margaret 1780 Yacht
Dawn 1934 Yacht


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  • The temporary storage building © Steve Barber