Lady Hamilton

Traditional gentleman's saloon launch, fully refurbished and now electric

Acquired in 1929 by the Sandys family of Graythwaite Hall for use on Lake Windermere, it is thought that Lady Hamilton was first commissioned in 1924 and built by H. Gibbs & Son of Trowlock, Hampton Wick on the Thames who specialised in the building of fine boats. The hull was built of Honduras mahogany carved planking, oak keel and stern and American elm timbers. Other boats built at the same time and which still survive include Bablock, Ferryboat, Garrick & Lady Isabelle (ref: Thames Vintage Boat Club).

Lady Hamilton was originally powered by a 10hp Gaines ‘Universal’ engine, giving a design speed of 10mph.

During World War II she was painted grey and used as part of the Home Guard fleet on Lake Windermere where the responsibility was to guard the Sunderland Flying Boat factory at White Cross Bay against possible enemy sea plane landings. An anti-aircraft gun was mounted on her forward decking.

After the war she was kept on chocks until 1958 in a boat house just below Graythwaite Hall when she was then bought by Mr. Jack Huddlestone of Ambleside. In the late 1960s she became the property of Brathay Hall but soon afterwards sunk in a storm as she was moored with two anchors at Sandwharf and floated over one of the anchors the flukes of which punctured holes in her bottom. The wreck was subsequently acquired by Brian Williams who restored her and sold her on to Michael Wagstaff who, in 1985, entrusted her to The Windermere Nautical Trust where further restoration work was carried out before being displayed at The Windermere Steamboat Museum. In 2003 Lady Hamilton was inherited by Mrs. Virginia Slifko who had her lifted from the River Thames and stored in a barn near Bray after the hull started to leak. After five years out of the water she was purchased by Lorna and David Morgan and with advice from Rupert Latham of Classic Boatworks in Norfolk, together with a complete structural survey, a nine month rebuild was completed. In April 2009, now serviced by an electric motor, Lady Hamilton was relaunched on the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire.

Lady Hamilton is available for viewing afloat near her owner’s home in Cambridgeshire. Please call the office on 01491 578870 for more information.