LADY OF THE LAKE is believed to be the oldest working passenger vessel in the world. She was launched on 26 June 1877 by Seath & Co., of Rutherglen, Glasgow, from the Ullswater Steam Navigation Company. Her iron hull was transported in three sections to Penrith and then to Waterside, where she was contstructed at Elder Beck and completed on 12 July 1877. Her original certificate of registry describes her as having one mast, rounded stern, iron framework, clencher fastened.
In November 1881, LADY OF THE LAKE sank at her moorings and was refloated by a team of Liverpool divers. From 1910, she was a Royal Mail Steamer carrying mail from Howton to Patterdale. In 1936, her steam engine was replaced by Kelvin diesels, providing 115 bhp: these were later replaced by Cummins diesels.
In 1958, she sank again, in a gale at Pooley Bridge, and was refloated with the help of the local fire brigade. In 1965, LADY OF THE LAKE was badly damaged by fire whilst on the Glenridding slipway and remained out of service until being completely rebuilt, and was re-launched on 19 May 1979. She is now a commercial pleasure steamer on Ullswater.
Source: Paul Brown, Historic Ships The Survivors (Amberley, 2010), updated Feb 2011.
In June 2023, LADY OF THE LAKE was awarded the title of NHS-UK's Operational Flagship of the Year, in recognition of her planned PR and marketing campaign, local business partnerships and the high number of passengers carried in the last 12 months.
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Vessel built by Seath & Co., Rutherglen, Glasgow for the Ullswater Steam Navigation Company
Sank at her moorings and was refloated by a team of Liverpool divers
Operated as a Royal Mail Steamer carrying mail from Howton to Patterdale
Original steam engine replaced with Kelvin diesels
Sank again in a gale at Pooley Bridge and was refloated with the help of the local fire brigade
Badly damaged by fire whilst on Glenridding slipway requiring full rebuild
Vessel re-launched for use as commercial pleasure steamer
Received the 2023 Operational Flagship of the Year Award from National Historic Ships UK
Hamer, Geoffrey, Trip Out 1995/6 - A Guide to the Passenger Boat Services of the British Isles, G P Hamer, 1995
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