Registration number 375
Status National Historic Fleet


Function Passenger Vessel
Subfunction Excursion
Location Ullswater
Vessel type Excursion
Current use Commercial Activity
Available to hire Yes
Available for excursions Yes
Info required Yes


Builder Seath, T B & Co, Rutherglen.
Built in 1877
Hull material Iron
Rig None
Number of decks 2
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Diesel
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
14.75 feet (4.50m)
2.39 feet (0.73m)
Length: Overall
96.95 feet (29.57m)
Tonnage: Gross


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. 

We are currently seeking further information on this National Historic Fleet vessel. If you have any details about this vessel past or present, please contact us.

Key dates

  • 1877

    Vessel built by Seath & Co., Rutherglen, Glasgow for the Ullswater Steam Navigation Company

  • 1881

    Sank at her moorings and was refloated by a team of Liverpool divers

  • 1910

    Operated as a Royal Mail Steamer carrying mail from Howton to Patterdale

  • 1936

    Original steam engine replaced with Kelvin diesels

  • 1958

    Sank again in a gale at Pooley Bridge and was refloated with the help of the local fire brigade

  • 1965

    Badly damaged by fire whilst on Glenridding slipway requiring full rebuild

  • 1979

    Vessel re-launched for use as commercial pleasure steamer

  • 2023

    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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