More progress with SL Osprey

Lifting SL Osprey's Sissons of Gloucester compound engine into position
Lifting SL Osprey’s Sissons of Gloucester compound engine into position

It was an exciting moment for everyone on the Windermere Jetty conservation team as Sissons engine no 591 was lifted into position in SL Osprey, after careful restoration for operational use by our staff and volunteers.

This beautiful little compound launch engine has always been one for showing off. It was considered such an important example of design and efficiency that it was exhibited at the Wolverhampton Arts and Industry exhibition – and then at the V&A in 1902. It’s no surprise that it soon found its way to Windermere, where vessel owners wanted only the very best to complement their elegantly built vessels.

This engine powered Mrs Ainsworth’s steam launch Water Viper until the Second World War, when, like so many others, it was replaced by a petrol engine. Fortunately it was saved by a private collector and in due course returned to Windermere and to the Windermere Jetty collection.

How lovely to think that, by the time the museum reopens, 1902 SL Osprey will be gliding across Windermere with the help of this historic little engine and bringing the same pleasure to visitors that it did to its private owners over a century ago.

The persistence, consideration and time that goes into a project like the restoration of SL Osprey cannot be estimated in hours alone. We owe a big thank you to all our volunteers and supporters who have helped us get to this point.

Adrian Stone and Matt Foot fitting the engine into position
Adrian Stone and Matt Foot fitting the engine into position
Engine and boiler in position
Engine and boiler in position


Stitching in the Sun with Manna House

The Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry has some lovely needlework in its collection. This Wednesday, we ran an embroidery workshop at Manna House as part of their Skills Cafe. There were a few needleworkers in the group, but for many it was their first stab at creative stitching. Learning as they went, the group built up a colourful combination of stitches. Everyone went away with a framed piece of embroidery and we all enjoyed spending the day taking it one stitch at a time. We’re looking forward to creating more crafts inspired by MOLLI’s collection. Get in touch with Shannon Quigley if you’re interested in bringing a creative workshop to your local community group!

Family Arts

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Making time to spend with your family is a hard thing to do in today’s busy world. There are so many pressures on families and how they spend their leisure time, making time spent together precious.

With this in mind, it is important that we understand what we can do, as cultural organisations, to make every family visit a fantastic experience; to be family friendly. We have put together a list of ideas to help make your venue family friendly. This includes a list of top tips from the Audience Agency, an arts focused organisation which provides research and consultation for museums and galleries.

What can you do to be family friendly?

  • Families come in different shapes and sizes and museums and galleries should reflect this by providing stimulating experiences for each individual within a family group. From grandparents, to teenagers, to young parents and toddlers, all should feel welcome and enjoy their visit as a group.
  • Provide clear information about what’s on offer. Tell families about the whole family offer as each family has different needs.
  • Provide activities which appeal to a range of different people, so that all members of the family can enjoy their visit.
  • Offer flexible tickets as family groups are all different.
  • Small changes such as providing baby changing facilities in all toilets, including the men’s toilets, can make a huge difference.
  • Make your family offer clear on the website. Families are busy and need reminding of what activities and events are coming up. This can be done through newsletters, your website and through social media.
  • Don’t stereotype older people within the family group. There are barriers to older people getting involved too, for example, those living with Dementia.

Top Tips from the Audience Agency

  • Provide intergenerational events and activities
  • Provide for extended family groups. Not all families visit with Mum, Dad and two or three children.
  • Provide families with a long term and meaningful conversation. This can be done through social media.
  • Be dynamic about how you engage with families, as family groups alter over time.
  • Families look for a consistent and regular offer. There is less risk for a family if they have been somewhere before and enjoyed their visit. They know what to expect.
  • Empower your staff to put families at the heart of your business.

Family Arts Campaign issue the Family Arts Standards, which Lakeland Arts have signed up to. These standards provide guidelines for cultural venues, to ensure that museum and gallery services are great for families. Look out for the blue plaques which will be on display at Blackwell, Abbot Hall and the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry.

Tell us about your family visit