Posted in History, Museums & galleries

Two see a seaplane…

Windermere Jetty museum held a science festival over the weekend. Possibly as part of it, or possibly as a bonus, they were also hosting a display by the replica seaplane Waterbird, so on Saturday morning we strolled down for a look.

Waterbird is, I believe, the very first seaplane to have taken off from water in the UK. Its first flight was from Windermere in 1911. Recently a team of engineers and enthusiasts have rebuilt her from scratch and have been holding a series of flight trials over the lake to try to recreate that first flight.

It hasn’t been easy as there were few blueprints for the design, but the end result featured in an episode of Warplane Workshop on Channel 4. We watched that last year and were fascinated, and seeing it in real life was every bit as good.

Sadly, we couldn’t see it in flight as the engine had blown a fuse (or more accurately, a piston) the previous day. But it was moored at the end of one of the museum’s many jetties and we got a good look at it. It looks so frail and unwieldy that it’s hard to believe it would ever fly, but the pilot has got it into the air above Windermere several times. We also had a chat with a couple of the team who were a mine of information and anecdotes.

With the added bonus of coffee with a stunning view of the lake, a quick dart round the rest of the museum, and some ducklings, it made a lovely morning out.



Fiona lives in a slate cottage within stone-throwing distance (never a good idea in Glass houses...) of England's largest lake. She enjoys history, gardening and photography, and rarely has her nose far from the pages of a book - or a cup of tea.

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