The Heritage Steamboat Trust

The Tamesis Trust

Objects of the Trust

The Advancement of Education in the History of Navigation on the River Thames by the Preservation, Maintenance and operation of all types of craft associated with the River, and or related artefacts and records of any kind and in any format, for the benefit of the public by exhibition in a Museum or otherwise and through publication, lectures and events.

The Trust is a registered Charity No. 1159891

The Trust purchased the steam launch CYGNET in 2010 with the help of private donations plus an MLA grant.

This Victorian Steam Launch built by J.I.Thornycroft at Chiswick in 1870, (the same year as the maiden voyage of the Cutty Sark), is now on public display at the Racing and River Boat Museum,  Beale Park nr. Pangbourne

However the Trust have now teamed up with The Consuta Trust and The Beale Park Trust to develop a Thames Heritage Boat Museum at Beale Park. If you would like to know more, click Thames Boat Museum

Cugnet steamed in 1969 during a steamboat rally at Datchet - photo by Richard Bartrop

'Cygnet' is a 29ft steel hull steam launch built at Chiswick in 1870 by J.I.Thornycroft & Co - works No 9.

'Cygnet' has never been restored, so is a fine example showing how mid Victorian steam launches were built.

A larger Steam launch 'Eva' built by Thornycroft in 1874 is on display at the Henley River and Rowing  Museum.

The links below provide much more information about Cygnet:-


These two photos were taken September 17th 2010

Cygnet compared with a similar size modern steam launch named Arlette

Arlette has an almost identical Thornycroft engine to that in Cygnet.

Note a major difference in the freeboard of each boat and totally different underwater sections of the hulls.

Arlette weighs about 1 ton, Cygnet probably weighs 1.5 tons.


Would you like to be kept informed about progress and developments?

Contact:- and we will include you on our news circular. (note this is a free service).

Thames Boats Trust, The Heritage Steamboat Trust, and The Consuta Trust combined efforts to raise the 42,000 funds required to purchase Cygnet at an auction in April 2010. A PRISM grant of 20,000 from the Museums Libraries & Archives provided a substantial contribution. Individual donations that have been given came to around 20,000 including the gift aid tax refund. Future conservation work will require additional funding; donations are always welcome.

Custodianship of Cygnet was transferred from Thames Boats Trust to The Tamesis Trust in December 2016.


If you provide a donation using online banking pleases make your donation to the "The Tamesis Trust" account with a transfer reference   "Cygnet". If you are donating as "gift aid" you will also need to send the donation form either by post or email to the treasurer; see details below :-

Cooperative Bank,     PO Box 250, Delf House, Southway, Skelmersdale, WN8 6WT 
Account Name:         The Tamesis Trust
Sort Code:                08-92-99
Account Number:      65796184

If you wish to make a donation by cheque then  download a donation form and post to:- 
The Tamesis Trust, The Treasurer,
12 Peacock Lane, Aylesbury, HP19 9DB

Cheques payable to "The Tamesis Trust".

If you have any queries about making contributions or bequests to The Tamesis Trust   please contact:- The Tamesis Trust Treasurer, :- Lucy Jones

If you wish to know more about Cygnet and J.I. Thornycroft   please contact Paul Smith

This small 1870 steam launch is an important survivor of British Marine Heritage

Thank you for looking