18.2.14

Steam yacht Parties on Lake Windermere

During the Industrial Revolution the local gentry, rich cotton magnates and entrepreneurs loved to socialise on Lake Windermere. They held weekend steamer and tea parties, the ladies showing off their elegant dresses and parasols, while the gentlemen competed for the finest looking steam launch. These would display the very best in velvet upholstery, carpets and leather seating. Even the boat’s name and their own family crest on the crockery. There would be lace tablecloths and servants would be present to serve lunch or the picnic, perhaps on an island on the lake.

The gentlemen might indulge in a little fishing for salmon, trout or char, while the ladies gossiped and relaxed. Char was considered to be a great delicacy in the 18th and 19th centuries. Regattas, FĂȘtes and Water festivals were an important feature of Lakeland life, a wonderful opportunity to show off a new boat, and take part in water sports, sailing and fishing competitions.


Kaiser Wilhelm II visited in 1895, while staying with the Earl of Lonsdale at Lowther Castle. The streets of Bowness and Ambleside were decorated with flags and bunting to celebrate the event.

Then there was the ice skating when the lake froze over, including the winter of 1929. Lily gets involved in many such events, although things do not always turn out quite as she expects.

Lake Windermere has been a focal point of the community since at least the time of the Romans, who could access it from their camp, Galava, at Waterhead. Medieval monks also used the lake as a source of food and transport.



Steam launches still operate on the lake to this day, where visitors can enjoy a sail and even tea out on the lake made on a Windermere kettle. To see a fine display of the most historic, the Windermere Steamboat Museum is most definitely worth a visit.





Lily Thorpe is a spirited, ambitious fisherman’s daughter, desperate to escape the poverty of her Lakeland home. When the rich Clermont-Read family spoils her plans, Lily embarks on a personal quest for revenge and marries their only son, Bertie, a handsome indolent charmer. Rejected by his family, the young couple soon find themselves battling against the very poverty Lily had hoped to escape... A twist of fate brings her the freedom she craves, but the price Lily must pay is vindictive snobbery from Bertie’s mother - as well as another far greater one, finally leading to a passionate affair with Nathan Monroe, a local steam boat captain. Now it is Lily who must protect herself against the threat of vengeance and decide who is more important, her husband or her lover.


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