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.
We were thrilled to announce in July that we have been successful in our bid for £9.4 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This news, coupled with receiving planning permission from the Lake District National Park in June means the project to create fantastic new museum facilities can now be delivered.
Lakeland Arts has raised an enormous £3 million in match funding over the last two years and now only needs a further £300,000 to reach the final target. The support for the project has been overwhelming and we were pleased to be able to thank many of our supporters on an evening cruise around Windermere on MV Swan, courtesy of Windermere Lake Cruises.
We also launched our One Million for the Museum Endowment campaign to raise £500,000 by 2016. For more information on how to give visit the website.
What better way to celebrate the successes of the project than taking part in the Heritage Open Day scheme and welcoming hundreds of visitors to the Museum to get a taster of the future.
This was our fourth Heritage Open Day and it’s proving to be the most popular and exciting opportunity to visit the collection and meet the team. The site was buzzing with activity and the sights, sounds and smells of historic launches. The conservation team was on hand to provide an insight into the complex conservation work taking place and the specialist skills required to look after such an important collection of historic vessels.
There were guided tours of the collection with the Curator, delving into the themes and stories that will be brought to life in the exhibitions and displays in the new Museum. A behind the scenes peek into archival material, including historic photographs and small objects, also gave visitors the opportunity to share their own memories and experiences on the lake.
One of the many highlights of the day was the chance to take a trip on an historic steam launch; SL Shamrock and SL Mosquito visited the museum for the day taking nearly 100 visitors for a special trip on the lake in the glorious September sun. Visitors of all ages enjoyed the activities on offer and we look forward to welcoming them back to the new Museum now the project is moving full steam ahead.
To find out about the next opportunity to visit, see our website.