Current Name: Cygnet    NSBR Registration Number: 593
Original Function Class
Leisure Steam launch
Length x Breadth (m) Length x Breadth (ft)
9.09 x 1.75 29ft 10in x 5ft 9in
Location Current Use
Date of Build
593 Cygnet.jpg
593 Cygnet.jpg
History Key Dates
1870Built by J I Thornycroft yard No 9 at Church Wharf ChiswickBoat data plate
1914Put into storage in the roof of Thornycroft's Hampton Yard.Turks Auction
1968Removed for preservation.Steamboat Register
1994Loaned to Motor Boat MuseumTurks Auction
2009Returned to ownerMotor Boat Museum, Basildon
2010Placed in Turk's Auction, bought by Thames Boat TrustTurks Auction
2013Loaned for dusplay at the Racing & River Boat Museum Beale ParkGH

Built with a wrought iron hull in 1870 by J Thornycroft at Church Wharf, Chiswick, London. (Yard No 9). CYGNET was one of a batch of five single cylinder 9hp 28ft LWL steam launches built by Thornycroft's between 1870 and 1874. She was used on the Thames and was stored at Thornycroft's boatyard at Hampton between 1914 and 1968. Acquired for preservation in 1968 and subsequently placed on display at the Motor Boat Museum Basildon until December 2009 when she was withdrawn from exhibition by her owner due to the imminent closure of the museum at Basildon. The significance of this vessel is that she has retained a very high proportion of her original riveted wrought iron structure and machinery including her original 1870 Thornycroft built single cylinder steam engine with its side fired locomotive type boiler. Another unusual feature that she has retained is her two bladed propeller fitted astern of a split rudder. This arrangement was a quite a common feature in early steam launches as it allowed the large propeller needed for their slow reving steam engines to be fitted to a shallow draft hull. It was also thought to improve the efficiency of the propeller by keeping it clear of the hull, It is believed that there are only three other steam launches in the UK that still have this unusual arrangement. Her condition is good and when on display at Basildon she was considered to be one of the best and most original examples of a iron hulled steam launch available to the public. There is still much to be learnt from her. GH/SBA Oct 2010 Loaned for display at Beale Park GH Nov 2013 Returned to owner 2016 Gh Aug 17