DUCHESS OF ARGYLL was built in 1883 by Turks of Cookham as a steam passenger launch and was made of mahogany with a carvel construction. By the 1930s, she was operating on the Laleham reach of the Thames with a Handy-Billy petrol engine. Later she was owned by Hastings, renamed PARMACHENE BELLE and operated as a trip boat at Kingston. She is believed to have been known as WAYFARER at some time in her past.
Reg Jacobs, a boatbuilder, found her sunk and derelict on the River Wey in the late 1960s, bought her for £50 and rebuilt her in a yard in Weybridge. She was acquired by Ian MacDougall in 1975, who renamed her DUCHESS OF ARGYLL and converted her to steam. She was out of the water at Hurley in the late 1980’s until being bought by her present owners in 1991. She has been lovingly restored over the years and most recently, the canvas canopy at the rear was replaced with an extension to the laminated canopy supported on additional barley twists.
She is currently moored on the Thames.
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Steamboat Register: An illustrated Register of surviving steam vessels in the British Isles, Steam Boat Association of Great Britain, Edition 6, May 1994
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