A seasonal rustle of acid free tissue paper…


Christmas wrapping is on many minds at the moment. As I wielded ribbon and paper this weekend, I contemplated some of the wonderful and moving things we’ve packed and unpacked at the Windermere Steamboat Museum this year.


Recently we inspected parts from a logboat found in Kentmere. What a feeling to be (carefully…) handling objects from around 1300- 1320! Better still, we know that the unknown person who made this was at the absolute cutting edge of boat design; while just hollowing out a log to create a floating vessel was already tried and tested, this builder was pursuing innovation by inserting ribs and building up the sides to give greater freeboard and stability. It’s a first- hand insight into the very beginning of a design process lasting for centuries and reaching a pinnacle in the elegant perfection of our nineteenth century Windermere steam launches.

T0249 Undine plaque (1)

This beautiful gilded plaque commemorates the Windermere involvement in the adoption of Fleet Destroyer, HMS Undine in 1942. The Windermere passenger steamer, Tern, was also renamed Undine during the Second World War, when she was put to a new use as a cadet training vessel. It’s a poignant reminder of how leisure activity on Windermere was transformed by war and ordinary family lives disrupted.

Sunderland sea plane model

Here’s further evidence of that change; this little model of a Sunderland flying boat was made by a worker at the Short Sunderland factory at White Cross Bay, where many local people were employed during the war. The full size Sunderland flying boats that they produced would have momentarily dwarfed all other Windermere vessels, before taking off for military service around the world. This tiny chap is about 200 times smaller than the real thing.

P1230478palissy regatta blue bowl

For those with seasonal amounts of food and drink on the mind, what about these? I can’t decide whether I’d rather unwrap Colonel Ridehalgh’s chunky, personalised dinner service from his 1879 steam yacht Britannia, or this stylish Palissy ‘blue regatta’ tea set from some 70 years later. Which would you rather find under the tree on Christmas morning?


3 thoughts on “A seasonal rustle of acid free tissue paper…

  1. I am a registered volunteer fieldworker for the IWM assisting in populating their War Memorial Archive. The crest, crown and brass dedication plate for HMS Undine adopted by Windermere have been removed from the original black wooden shield which would have been hung in the Town Hall. Please could someone (Margaret?) inform me where the three components attached to the backboard are now held. Ideally they should be fitted to a new shield, this has occurred to Alfreton’ Warship Week adoption plaque of which I hold images.

    • Hello Peter and many thanks for getting in touch. The HMS Undine crest, crown and plaque are currently with us at Windermere Steamboat Museum and you’d be welcome to have a look at them at any point. We are currently working on plans for their redisplay and interpretation once the museum re-opens so it was really useful to hear about the wooden shield arrangement. Thank you. I will research this further once I am back in the office to see if there is information about when they were removed. Meanwhile, if you were able to send me a picture of the Alfreton Warship Week adoption plaque, I’d really appreciate seeing one.

      With many thanks, Margaret Reid

      • Dear Margaret Attached are images of two original plaques and the restored Alfreton plaque It would be nice to see Windermere’s adoption plaque back in its original condition. The good thing is that you have all the component parts of the plaque which can be reassembled. I am not too far away as I live in the village of Rampside five miles outside Barrow. The Barrow adoption plaque is displayed on the ground floor of the Town Hall and I can get access to it if you need measurements for a new shield. I also believe that Kendals adoption plaque is on the first floor of the Town Hall. Have also attached an article I wrote about the National Savings Movement and Warship Weeks which might be of interest. Over the time I have been working for the IWM quite a few adoption plaques have been unearthed and re-dedicated and I was involved in getting the Ulverston plaque out of storage and displayed once again in the Council Chamber. If you need further information or assistance please let me know Best wishes Peter Date: Fri, 27 Dec 2013 11:57:16 +0000 To: p.schofield13@hotmail.co.uk

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