In June, Roger Mallinson travelled in his 1931 Austin Seven to historic Brooklands to receive a Lifetime Achievement award from the Transport Trust. The award, presented by Prince Michael of Kent, was for Roger’s work with historic steam vessels, notably 1906 SL Shamrock.
Shamrock was built by Nathaniel Shepherd of Bowness-on-Windermere for wealthy Manchester textile manufacturer, W M Birtwistle, and run by his boatman, Charles Ashley, who continued operating and maintaining her after Birtwistle’s death. She passed to Ashley’s son, Billy, one of the founders of the Bowness Bay Boating Company, but a period of commercial use led to the loss of her original Sisson of Gloucester triple expansion steam engine and conversion to a motorboat running on TVO. By the time Roger purchased her in 1976, she was dilapidated, but he lovingly restored her to steam and her former glory. When the 2009 floods caused devastating damage to Shamrock’s highly complex clerestory coach roof, Roger was faced – yet again – with the prospect of a major restoration programme. The Shamrock Trust was formed, with a view to ensuring Shamrock’s long-term future.
Many people have enjoyed the privilege of a trip on Shamrock or a chat with Roger – who willingly shares his knowledge of historic Windermere vessels. Less visibly, we also benefit enormously in the workshop from his engineering expertise, which has enabled us to restore Osprey’s highly significant historic engine for operational use and to develop engineering operation and maintenance programmes for collection vessels. His energy and passion for understanding and making things work, preserving historic material and passing on knowledge and skills really does inspire all of us.
Roger has also been awarded this year’s Marsh Volunteer Award for Historic Vessel Conservation in partnership with National Historic Ships.