National Historic Ships UK (NHS-UK) are delighted to announce that for this year's Awards film we'll be heading to the beautiful Lake District, hosted jointly by Windermere Jetty Museum and Windermere Lake Cruises!

About Windermere

England’s biggest natural lake, Windermere is 10.5 miles long, one mile wide at its widest point and in places, 200 feet deep.  It not only boasts stunning beauty, but a rich and varied history. The lake is subject to a public right of navigation and in centuries past supported commercial traffic for the slate and copper mining, timber, wool and fishing industries.  In the early years of the 19th century a sailing packet service carried passengers and general goods between the major towns on Windermere, with the first steamship on the lake – and indeed on any lake in England – being the paddle steamer Lady of the Lake in 1845.  Two years later the railway reached Windermere, bringing huge numbers of visitors and a tourism boom that continues today. 

Windermere Jetty Museum

Windermere Jetty Museum is a spectacular museum on the shores of Windermere that reflects industry and engineering in the Lake District National Park.  The museum stands on the former site of Windermere Steamboat Museum and is based on the collection built up by George Pattinson, a local builder and boat collector.  The arts and heritage organisation Lakeland Arts took ownership of the site in 2007 and, after an extensive renovation project, the museum reopened in Spring 2019.  

Today, the collection comprises 40 boats covering the history of sailing on Windermere from the late 18th century to today.  This includes eleven vessels on the National Registers, three of which - 1869 saloon launch Esperance, 1871 steam barge Raven, and 1896 saloon launch Branksome - are on the National Historic Fleet.  The collection also includes the former Windermere rowing ferry Mary-Anne, which won the Museum the inaugural Martyn Heighton Award for Excellence in Maritime Conservation in 2019.  Visitors can take a trip on the 1902 steam launch Osprey and 1930 wooden launch Penelope II

A working destination, committed to conserving, saving and sharing its internationally important collection of historic boats, Windermere Jetty Museum also showcases the sights, smells and sounds of life on the lake.  As our Shipshape Network North Hub, it offers a range of activities and services to local historic vessel owners, skilled craftsmen, businesses, heritage organisations, training bodies and maritime enthusiasts.

Windermere Lake Cruises

Windermere Lake Cruises, based in Bowness-on-Windermere, operate a fleet of over 100 vessels that sail throughout the year.  The company was formed in the 1980s from a merger of three different passenger vessel operators who had been rivals for decades.  However, the origins of the company date all the way back to the Victorian heyday of Lake District tourism.

The historic fleet includes three vessels on the National Historic Fleet; 1891 steamer Tern, and the sister ships Teal (1936) and Swan (1938), as well as four smaller wooden saloon launches built from the 1930s to the 1950s; Queen of the Lake, Princess of the Lake, Muriel II, and Sunflower, all built specifically to carry passengers on Windermere. The boats operate regular scheduled cruises on different routes on Windermere, as well for private charters and special events.  They also have many smaller electric and wooden rowing boats available for self-drive hire, some of the latter dating back to the 19th century.  Across the entire Windermere Lake Cruises fleet of more than 100 vessels, they carry over 1 million visitors each year. 

The Awards

NHS-UK’s annual Awards are a celebration of maritime heritage around the UK.  They encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with historic vessels through photography, volunteering, conservation, online activities, and skills-based training.  The winners are announced in an Awards film that is filmed at a different maritime heritage venue around the country each year and premieres on Youtube in November.  The 2024 Awards film is supported by Lilley Plummer Risks Ltd and the Marsh Charitable Trust

We look forward to celebrating our fantastic award winners and exploring Windermere with you in 2024! 




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