Steam Launch built 1896 by Forrestt & Sons Ltd, Wivenhoe

Designated ensign Designated house flag



Leisure Craft


Steam Launch


Museum based

Museum: operating





Web site




Steam triple expansion



Abbot & Co, Newark



To be confirmed

6.59 feet (2.01 metres)

45.48 feet (13.87 metres)

To be confirmed



Built in 1896 by Forrest & Sons Ltd., of Wyvenhoe for J M Sladen and named GREBE, this is a launch with a riveted steel hull and a triple expansion engine by W Sisson & Co., Gloucester. In 1899, she was sold to W Whitehead and renamed. OTTO was subsequently owned by Sir W Crossley and S Rhodes. She was acquired in 1973 by Hon. Patrick Lindsay who had the hull and plant overhauled by R B Harrison. She was then bought by the Windermere Steamboat Museum in 1980 and remains there on display.

Dick Sullivan, Old Ships, Boats and Maritime Museums (1978) pub: Coracle Books
Steamboat Register: An illustrated Register of surviving steam vessels in the British Isles (May Edition 6, 1994) pub: Steam Boat Association of Great Britain
Windermere Steamboat Museum and Motorboat Collection (1988) pub: Windermere Nautical Trust Ltd


What is the vessel’s ability to demonstrate history in her physical fabric?

OTTO is a fast, steel hulled launch, fitted with her original powerful triple expansion Sissons steam engine. Her design sees the rudder mounted forwards of the propeller, making her difficult to handle at low speeds in confined areas. There is a high percentage of original material and fittings in this craft which adds greatly to her significance and she will be restored with the minimum intervention of new material, whilst retaining the capacity for operational use.

What are the vessel’s associational links for which there is no physical evidence?

OTTO was built at Wivenhoe by Forrestt & Sons in 1896 as the GREBE, having been designed by A R Sladen for his brother Mortimer of Cleve House, Windermere. She is a magnificent example of the private steam launches designed for pleasure at the turn of the 20th Century. OTTO has spent her whole life on Lake Windermere and therefore has a strong association to this area.

How does the vessel’s shape or form combine and contribute to her function?

OTTO has a strong, well proportioned riveted steel hull which, with a powerful engine and advanced propeller design, gave her a high speed. Her canopied accommodation was designed to cater for some 10-12 guests out for a day on the Lake.

Source: George Hogg, Registration Sub Committee, National Historic Ships Date: May 2011.

Previous names

  1. 1899 – Grebe


  1. 1978 Old Ships, Boats and Maritime Museums - Sullivan, Dick
  2. 1988 Windermere Steamboat Museum and Motorboat Collection
  3. 1994 Steamboat Register: An illustrated Register of surviving steam vessels in the British Isles
If you are the owner of the vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information please contact

landing strake:

the strake between the binding strake and the top strake