SL Branksome, 1896

Builder Brockbanks, Windermere
Length 50’
Beam 9'
Hull Teak
Engine Sissons compound bore 7.5’ 11”, stroke 7”
Boiler Locomotive, side fired
Speed 14 mph

Steam Launch Branksome was built in 1896 by Brockbank’s of Windermere. The hull is constructed using entire 50 foot long lengths of varnished teak and is painted with a red plimsoll line and green hull. The hull is carvel built of teak on oak steamed frames and is described as having a clipper bow and counter stern with an aft saloon, two berths, a WC, and a galley. It has a typically light construction, found in many of the launches that were designed for occasional leisure use on the lake, however despite this light construction, the vessel registers 7.62 tons. Her engine is the original, having been built in 1896 by W. Sisson & Co. Gloucester and is numbered 502.

She is elaborately fitted out - the walnut panelling, embossed velvet upholstery, carpet and leather seats are all original. The galley has a solid white marble wash hand basin with beer pump handle and her 1896 WC still works. The most popular fitting is a copper tea urn adjacent to the funnel which boils a gallon of water in ten seconds. The kettle is worked by boiler steam passing through coiled pipes in the urn. Known as the ‘Windermere Kettle’ these  were common on Windermere boats during the Victorian period.

History and ownership

Branksome was built for Mrs Edna Howarth of Langdale Chase, whose stone-built boathouse had been specially built for the vessel. Branksome is a luxuriously appointed steam launch built for use on the lake and cost around four times as much to build than similar launches in the collection. Branksome was originally launched in 1896 as ‘Lily’. She remained the property of Mrs Howarth until 1919 and then passed to the Cowburn family who kept her until around 1958 – 1962 when she was sold to George Pattinson.

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