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.