Windermere Steamboat Museum – Windermere Jetty

Location : Bowness-on-Windermere / Windermere lake


Set in a magnificent location in the heart of Lakeland, Windermere Steamboat Museum houses a unique collection of historic steamboats and motorboats, including the SL Dolly of 1850 – the oldest mechanically powered boat in the world, with its original engine still in running order.

S.L Branksome (1896)
image S.L Branksome at the Windermere Steamboat Museum
Mrs Howarth of Langdale Chase commissioned a 50 foot teak coal fired launch, ‘The Lily’, later renamed ‘Branksome’, which is now at the museum . Branksome carried HRH Prince Philip on his tour of the lake, during his visit in 1977.

TSSY Esperance (1896)
image of TSSY Esperance at the Windermere Steamboat Museum in the Lake District

There is also the recently restored TSSY Esperance, the model for Captain Flint’s houseboat in Arthur Ransome‘s Swallows and Amazons. It was owned by Henry Schneider, chairman of the Barrow Steelworks, who lived at what is now the Belsfield Hotel overlooking Bowness Bay. Every morning he left home, travelling on the Esperance, on which he had breakfast on his way to Lakeside. There he would travel by train in his private carriage (he owned the railway too) to his job in Barrow !

SL Swallow (1911) – currently undergoing major restoration
image of SL Swallow - currently undergoing major restoration at the Windermere Steamboat Museum in the Lake District

In 2007 the museum was taken over by the Lakeland Arts Trust, a local charity, in order to restore the collection and redevelop the site.
The Lakeland Arts Trust has recently carried out a major redevelopment of the site to create a series of new buildings to house the boats and a conservation unit where they will be restored and maintained.
The Lakeland Arts Trust also runs Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Blackwell and the Museum of Lakeland Life.

The museum has recently reopened following a major renovation.  
Related pages

Rayrigg Rd, Bowness, Windermere, LA23 1BN. Tel 015394 45565
Grid Reference: SD 402978