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Friday, 24 October 2014

Full steam to the Lakes

GENERATIONS of Lakeland daytrippers will have happy memories of the graceful pleasure craft gliding along Windermere, Coniston and Ullswater.

The ships and their stories feature in the new book Lakeland Steamers by Andrew Gladwell – and we have a copy to be won.

The first Lake District steamers were designed to serve the numerous villages and settlements along the side of the lakes.

From the 1860s, larger railway-owned steamers such as the Swan, Tern, Swift and Teal were built to cater for the rapidly expanding tourist market of Windermere.

Elsewhere, Ullswater had the Lady of the Lake and Raven, and Coniston had magnificent steamers such as Gondola.

Many of these wonderful and nostalgic lake steamers survive to this day.

The book tells the history of the steamers and launches used on all of the Lake Districts major bodies of water using a vast range of images taken through the decades.

Mr Gladwell is an acknowledged experts on pleasure steamers and has written several books on the use of these craft around the coasts of Great Britain. The Furness Railway Company developed pleasure trips at Windermere and Coniston to help develop the attraction of its holiday rail services to the Lake District.

They were heavily promoted by general manager Alfred Aslett in the period from 1895 to the First World War.

The author noted: “The Furness Railway, from its inception, developed an ambitious and novel advertising programme for its Lake District services.

“A hand cart was one way that they that they advertised.

“It was pushed through the streets of Blackpool to promote the benefits of a cruise to Windermere and Coniston.

“Alfred Aslett was always on the lookout for novel means by which to advertise his Lake District services.

“In June 1910, Aslett purchased a model of Gwalia for £50 and then mounted it on wheels to be pushed around Blackpool to advertise his tours.

“Aslett was prominent in the first large-scale and effective advertising campaign for the English Lake District.”

l Lakeland Steamers is published by Amberley at £14.99.

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