Certificate no 1885
Status Archived


Function Leisure Craft
Subfunction Launch
Location NONE
Archive reason Disposed
Current use None
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required No


Builder Sargeant, W, Strand-on-the-Green
Built in 1888
Hull material Wood
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Petrol
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
10.00 feet (3.05 m)
1.10 feet (0.34 m)
Length: Overall
65.60 feet (20.01 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed


VISCOUNTESS BURY was named after the wife of Viscount Bury, Chairman of the Westminster Electric Traction Co. In 1988 Moritz Immisch and Viscount Bury formed a syndicate to develop and build electic trams, trains and boats.

The VISCOUNTESS BURY was specially designed and built for a private company by Mr William Sargeant, an electrical launch architect and constructor, from Chiswick, Middlesex (1836-1918).  He was a pioneer in the building of electric launches for use mostly on the River Thames during the late Victorian period.  In 1905 he built The Victory.  At 95ft this was the largest electrically powered boat built, but unfortunately she was destroyed and sunk as a result of a fire.

VISCOUNTESS BURY was listed on the Board of Trade Register as an electric boat until 1909. She was then converted to a petrol engine. She was acquired by H C Banham in 1910 and taken from the Thames to Kings Lynn, a journey not without hazard. Used as a tripping boat on the Fens, she was put into service out of Ely on a 36 Mile stretch of the Great Ouse and River Cam by Dan Weller of Ely during to 1980's. In 1889, VISCOUNTESS BURY went under some modifications to include the lengthening of the saloon and accommodation materially enlarged and improved to carry 60 or 70 passengers.

She was in regular use on the Upper Thames during the subsequent decade. On an August Sunday in 1891, several memebers of the Hygienic Congress took a trip upriver from Maidenhead. Between 1889 and 1894, she was on charter to the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII. In July 1897, Col. Boxall hired her for a party to watch the Bourne End Regatta. In 2005, she was scrapped and the Lines are held at Lowestoft College.

Key dates

  • 1888

    Designed and built for private company by Mr W. Sargeant, electric launch architect and constructor from Chiswick

  • 1889

    Modifications included lengthening of saloon and accommodation enlarged to carry 60-70 passengers

  • 1909

    Converted to petrol engine having previously been listed on Board of Trade Register as electric boat

  • 1910

    Acquired by H.C. Banham and taken from Thames to Kings Lynn, Norfolk

  • 1889-1894

    On charter to Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII

  • 1980s

    Used as tripping boat on the Great Ouse and River Cam by Dan Weller of Ely

  • 2001

    Purchased by the Friends of the Viscountess Bury and awaiting restoration at IBBC Lowestoft

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