Registration number 51
Status Registered

Previous names

  • 1899 Grebe


Function Leisure Craft
Subfunction Launch
Location Windermere
Vessel type Open Launch
Current use Museum based
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No


Builder Forrestt & Sons Ltd, Wivenhoe
Built in 1896
Hull material Steel
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Propulsion Steam
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Steam triple expansion
Boiler type Locomotive
Boilermaker Abbot & Co, Newark
Boiler year 1958
Boiler fuel coal


Breadth: Beam
6.59 feet (2.01m)
Length: Overall
45.48 feet (13.87m)


Built in 1896 by Forrest & Sons Ltd., of Wyvenhoe for J M Sladen and named GREBE, this is a launch with a riveted steel hull and a triple expansion engine by W Sisson & Co., Gloucester. In 1899, she was sold to W Whitehead and renamed. OTTO was subsequently owned by Sir W Crossley and S Rhodes. She was acquired in 1973 by Hon. Patrick Lindsay who had the hull and plant overhauled by R B Harrison. She was bought by the Windermere Steamboat Museum in 1980 and is now on display at Windermere Jetty Museum.


What is the vessel’s ability to demonstrate history in her physical fabric?

OTTO is a fast, steel hulled launch, fitted with her original powerful triple expansion Sissons steam engine. Her design sees the rudder mounted forwards of the propeller, making her difficult to handle at low speeds in confined areas. There is a high percentage of original material and fittings in this craft which adds greatly to her significance and she will be restored with the minimum intervention of new material, whilst retaining the capacity for operational use.

What are the vessel’s associational links for which there is no physical evidence?

OTTO was built at Wivenhoe by Forrestt & Sons in 1896 as the GREBE, having been designed by A R Sladen for his brother Mortimer of Cleve House, Windermere. She is a magnificent example of the private steam launches designed for pleasure at the turn of the 20th Century. OTTO has spent her whole life on Lake Windermere and therefore has a strong association to this area.

How does the vessel’s shape or form combine and contribute to her function?

OTTO has a strong, well proportioned riveted steel hull which, with a powerful engine and advanced propeller design, gave her a high speed. Her canopied accommodation was designed to cater for some 10-12 guests out for a day on the Lake.

Source: George Hogg, Registration Sub Committee, National Historic Ships Date: May 2011.


Sullivan, Dick, Old Ships, Boats and Maritime Museums, Coracle Books, 1978
Steamboat Register: An illustrated Register of surviving steam vessels in the British Isles, Steam Boat Association of Great Britain, Edition 6, May 1994    
Windermere Steamboat Museum and Motorboat Collection, Windermere Nautical Trust Ltd, 1988

Own this vessel?

If you are the owner of this vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information, please contact

More like this

Cruising along

Registered, built 1933 by Reekie, Walter, Anstruther

Merry Widow

Registered, built 1922 by Borwick & Co, Windermere

starboard side view

Registered, built 1910 by Gill & Sons, Rochester

Waterlily - port quarter

National Historic Fleet, built 1866 by Thornycroft, J I & Co Ltd, Chiswick