Previously unseen films give nostalgic glimpse into Windermere’s past
Published: 1st December 2023
Categories: Media Release
Old cine film footage is going on public display for the first time ever to provide a nostalgic window into Windermere’s boating history.
Shot in the 1970s and 1980s, the films give a behind the scenes look at the life of boatmen and the arrival on England’s longest lake of some of Windermere Lake Cruises’ waterbus vessels. They also capture some drama - a fire at Ambleside Boathouse around 50 years ago.
The 8mm films were shot over several years by a former Chairman of Windermere Lake Cruises, Raymond Dennison, a cine film enthusiast who died in 2007. A selection of his films has now been digitised and put online by Windermere Lake Cruises.
Reels yet to be digitised are believed to show a Sunderland Flying Boat landing on Windermere, a big freeze in the early 1980s and the launch of Windermere’s car ferry, The Mallard, in the early 1990s.
Rob Beale, Boat Master with Windermere Lake Cruises and boating historian, says: “The films might never have been seen in public had Raymond’s family not realised their historical interest. We are very grateful they handed them over to us.”
“They give a glimpse into the past and document the development of transport and tourism on Windermere.”
🎥 Watch the films
One film shows the arrival on Windermere of the vessel Ladyholme – the first true waterbus class vessel. The 20-ton, 39ft long vessel, arrived in 1973 after being sold by previous owners who operated her on Cork Harbour in Ireland.
Rob adds: “The waterbus vessels are often overlooked. But they were the workhorses of the fleet and generated income. Without that income it might have been impossible to preserve the more famous old “steamers” which are such an iconic image on Windermere.”
Raymond Dennison had a lifelong connection with Windermere’s boating industry. He was Chairman of Bowness Bay Boating Company, which became Windermere Lake Cruises in 1996, from the late 1980s until 2007.
His son, Martin Dennison, says: “Dad loved filming and editing and always seemed to have a camera held to his eye!
“We would go on family holidays and he’d capture everything and he also loved to reflect life on and around Windermere.
“Filming was more complex back then. You couldn’t just pick up a mobile phone and capture everything. I’m sure he would be delighted his old films are going on public display and will give people a glimpse into Windermere’s past.”
Rob Beale says: “I hope people look at the footage on our website and enjoy the trip back in time. They might even recognise their younger selves among the many people enjoying cruises on our boats.”