Firebird- A Prize-winning Steam Launch
Exceptional steam launch
“Henley Sales and Charter occasionally comes across an exceptional river launch and Firebird is one such. This uniquely striking vintage steamboat is perfect for days spent cruising the river with comfortable seating for up to 12 people.
Firebird was built in 1904 in the style of Alfred Burgoine, Queen Victoria’s boat builder. We know the boat was built in Hampton in 1904 so can presume that it was one of the builders based in that area. The engine is an original steam engine built in 1900 by A. G. Mumford and transferred to the new hull when Firebird was restored in 1954 by Woottens of Cookham Dean. Woottens stayed true to the original design and maintained much of the detailing work. The engine is a compound condensing engine 3″x 6″ x 5 ” with lubrication to all the main bearings from the oil pump. The water tanks are in the foredeck beneath the seating, along with two generous storage areas for hampers / picnics etc. Within the stern there is again further storage and she can be steered from either the rear deck tiller or mid-ships brass wheel. The coal-fired boiler was built in 1980 by J. Lugg of Billingshurst and retubed in May 2016 along with a new top tube plate. There is a splendid steam-heated Windermere kettle for supplying copious hot drinks while cruising.
Firebird is a striking vessel with a black hull lined in gold, with a fully varnished teak interior and teak canopy. All of the deck fittings and canopy stanchions are in either a brass or bronze material and the owners have been meticulous in their maintenance of both the boat and the machinery. Since the current owner bought the boat in 1991, Henwood and Dean have been tasked with any wood maintenance required. The removable aft windows were a Freebody addition I believe for Sir William McAlpine during his ownership of the boat. Over the years Firebird has carried off a number of trophies at the Traditional Boat Rally (now Festival) in Henley on Thames.
Firebird’s purpose-built trailer has enabled the owners to cruise all over the UK from her home reach on the River Stour in Suffolk. The BSS certificate is valid to 2020 and the boiler certificate through to 21st August 2017. The full length winter cover has an additional cap for the funnel which allows the boat to be covered while still warm.
The boat comes with a very full inventory which includes various fitted baskets and a variety of spares.
To view Firebird please call the office on 01491 578870.”