145 year old Raven takes flight

One of the oldest steamboats in Britain was lifted out of Lake Windermere last month as part of the exciting redevelopment of Windermere Steamboat Museum.

Carefully lifting Raven out of Lake Windermere. Image: Lakeland Arts

The 145 year old SS Raven was docked in the lake where a new slipway is to be built and had to be moved to a safe location on the shore.

At a length of 21.64 metres, beam of 4.45 metres and weight of 41 Tonnes, there was concern that the riveted iron hull may be damaged during the lift.

Smith Engineering designed, manufactured and installed a number of specialist fabrications to assist in the lift. The main items were 2 ‘artificial bulkheads’ to strengthen the hull. Delivered to site in a kit of parts, the bulkheads were installed below deck without having to cut large holes in the deck. Other items included load spreading plates to spread the load of the crane straps across the ribs of the hull and wooden wedges to support the weight of the hull on the lorry trailer.

Raven was safely lifted out of the lake and moved to its temporary home in the grounds of the museum. The use of artificial bulkheads was a fast and cost effective solution avoiding the need to fabricate a large and heavy cradle to lift the vessel.

Lowering Raven onto the trailer. Image: Lakeland Arts

Built in 1871, Raven was used to provide cargo services around Lake Windermere. Since 1977 it has formed part of the collection of steam craft at the museum, now owned by Lakeland Arts. Raven is the second oldest vessel on Lloyds Register of Yachts and the oldest with her original machinery.

The redeveloped steamboat museum is due to re-open in 2017 with a new name - Windermere Jetty. It will be a world-class museum appealing to everyone from specialists to school children.

For more information about Windermere Jetty please see: http://www.lakelandarts.org.uk/windermere-jetty