Registration number 3705
Status Registered

Previous names

  • 1922 - 2022 Merry Widow


Function Passenger Vessel
Subfunction Launch
Location Stratford-upon-Avon
Vessel type Open Launch
Current use Commercial Activity
Available to hire Yes
Available for excursions Yes


Builder Borwick & Co, Windermere
Built in 1922
Hull material Wood
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Electric
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
7.71 feet (2.35m)
Length: Overall
35.60 feet (10.85m)


MERRY WIDOW was built by Borwicks of Bowness for an individual proprietor boatman to run pleasure cruises on Lake Windermere. The launch, along with many other similar vessels, became part of the large fleet operated for many years by the Bowness Bay Boating Company. At some point the vessel was sold to the Thames, and then moved to Christchurch to operate cruises in the harbour for the Bournemouth Motor Boat Company.

In early 2021 she was bought by Avon-Boating and sent to Bristol Classic Boat Company for renovation and to return her as close as possible to her original design. Most of the hull planking and framing needed to be replaced in the rebuild to restore the structural integrity of the vessel, while carefully retaining the original shape and scantlings. Research in the Lake District, including evidence from old photographs and blueprints from her close sister from the same yard, Silver Gleam of 1933, were used to reconstruct the cabin. A new Waterworld 10kW electric motor replaced a recent diesel engine, with batteries hidden under the bench seating.

She joins the heritage fleet operated by Avon-Boating at Stratford-upon-Avon of four other Borwicks built launches; Mayflower 1912, Spray 1920, Lotus 1927, and Lily 1933 (ex-Silver Gleam). The vessel is one of only four remaining passenger launches of the period built with Borwicks elegant curved 'bustle' stern; including Mayflower 1912 and Spray 1920 at Stratford, and Penelope II 1930 at Windermere Jetty.

Key dates

  • None

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