Glencoe Folk Museum’s historic Funeral Boat has been transported to Cumbria from the Scottish Highlands for specialist conservation work.  The Funeral Boat, one of three rowing boats once used by Lochaber clans to transport bodies to the burial island, Eilean Munde, in Loch Leven, will be repaired at Windermere Jetty Museum by Stephen Beresford, one of the UK’s leading historic boat conservators.  

Stephen is a chartered engineer, maritime heritage consultant and boat conservator with more than twenty years experience in manufacturing industries.  Since 2015, he has managed all aspects of vessel conservation and restoration as Senior Conservation Boat Builder for Windermere Jetty Museum in Cumbria.  The Museum cares for an internationally important collection of more than forty vessels, including twelve of the finest examples of Victorian and Edwardian steamboats worldwide, such as 1902 steam launch Osprey and 1930 motor launch Penelope IIThe Museum won the inaugural Martyn Heighton Award in 2019, for their conservation of the ferry Mary-Anne.  Stephen is also a member of the NHS-UK Council of Experts

Once restored and returned to Glencoe, the Funeral Boat will be a centrepiece exhibit in the Museum’s ongoing redevelopment, scheduled to open Summer 2025.  The conservation project has been generously funded by public donations and grants from the Association of Independent Museums, Ballew Foundation and National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

Glencoe Museum Project Director, David Rounce, said; “The Funeral Boat is our largest object and provides a tangible link with an important local custom, telling an evocative story of Clan traditions, social history and local folklore. This work will protect the boat for future generations and it’ll be fantastic to see it on display in our redeveloped Museum. We’d also like to thank the local Munda’s Men group for their efforts in loading the boat ready for transport”. 

Stephen Beresford, who will perform the conservation work on behalf of Windermere Jetty Museum, said; “It’s an honour and a privilege to work on a boat with such significance, that matters so much to the people of the Highlands. Its form and construction are inextricably linked to its purpose and the stories these features can unfold are quite fascinating”.

Read more about Windermere Jetty Museum, our Shipshape Network North Hub.

Photo credit: Glencoe Folk Museum

GLencoe Funeral boat Zone North