March 2018: Gondola's ruby rebuild anniversary

Gondola in the process of being rebuilt at Vickers Shipyard at Barrow in 1978

Gondola's re-emergence on the lake this year marks 40 years since we employed Vickers Shipbuilding Ltd of Barrow to undertake the task of surveying and assessing the wreck of Gondola.

Coniston locals may well remember the sorry sight of the ship-wrecked Gondola being towed from her watery grave at Water Park to the slipway at Coniston Old Hall the previous year in 1977.

Each season, we're sometimes lucky enough to meet someone on board, who was connected with Gondola's rebuild and occasionally, we come into the possession of a new image or snippet of a story from this time. Thanks to the shipyard apprentices who rebuilt her in the late 70’s to successive crew members and associated friends of Gondola over the last four decades, Gondola continues to showcase the best of this local craftsmanship and engineering expertise to visitors from around the world. These days the crew don’t have to rebuild the whole yacht every winter but there is ongoing specialist maintenance work to be done. Gondola has been treated to a new skylight and her bear pit steps have been replaced ready for this season.

Gondola’s unique story is rooted on the lake which she continues to serve as an elegant, moving part of this cultural landscape now recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.

To commemorate the ruby re-build anniversary, we'd like to reconnect and get in touch with any volunteers or apprentices who were involved in the rescue and rebuild of Gondola in the 1970s. We want to collect up stories and anecdotes of this time as well as any images to record a complete picture of this period of Gondola’s history. This will help us ensure Gondola’s story lives on through the sharing of personal experiences of those involved in keeping her ship shape. We're keen to hear from anyone who was involved during this time. Please get in touch with Suzi, our Visitor Experience Officer by email at suzi.bunting@nationaltrust.org.uk.

Keep visiting our blog and we'll let you know how we get on with our quest.