Margaret, 1780

Builder Purdy, Whitehaven
Length 26’ 5”
Beam 5’ 10”
Hull Carvel pine on oak
Rig Lugsail

This large sailing boat is a fantastic example of early carvel boatbuilding and is one of the earliest boats in the collection. Margaret was built from oak using very simple hand tools, however the design of her hull is particularly complex and would have been crafted by the most highly skilled boatbuilders.

History and ownership

Margaret was built in Whitehaven in 1780 for the Curwen family who owned Belle Isle on Windermere and remained with the family for over 150 years. Margaret is the oldest sailing yacht in the UK and was used to race against other yachts on Windermere for many years. Her most notable race was held against the Yacht Peggy in 1796. John Christian Curwen invited Captain Quale, the owner of Peggy, to Windermere for a week of sailing. Peggy was sailed all the way from the Isle of Man (where she still resides today) and up to Greenodd. This journey was particularly fraught with danger as the passage from the Isle of Man was known to be patrolled by pirates! Peggy however, made the voyage safely and travelled the last six miles to Windermere on a horse-drawn wagon.

Margaret had a long life on Windermere but was transported to Southport during the later stages of her life. Following the destruction of a similar vessel in the 1950s, George Pattinson, the museum’s founder, set out to find Margaret and bring her back to Windermere. Eventually she was found lying upside down in a field, on the outskirts of Southport, being used as a henhouse.

Restoration plans

Margaret is too delicate to return to the water. She will require specialist advice and treatment to ensure she is carefully preserved. All her ironworks will be reconserved and the iron and copper fastening throughout the vessel will be cleaned. Margaret will be well supported and remain on static dry display within the redeveloped museum.

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