IN RESPONSE to Jeremy Godwin's query about whether there were two vessels named Lady of the Lake (January 24, 'Two vessels?) , there were actually three passenger vessels of that name in service on the Cumbrian Lakes.

The first was a wooden paddle steamer built in 1845 by Richard Ashburner of Greenodd for service on Windermere. She lasted until around 1865 when replaced by the Rothay.

The next Lady of the Lake was built in 1877 by TB Seaths of Rutherglen for service on Ullswater. She is still in service and is one of the oldest ships in the world in regular working service.

The third was the vessel on Coniston built by JL Thorneycroft of Southampton in 1908. She remained in service on Coniston until 1939 and was broken up in 1950. This last Lady of the Lake was ordered by the Furness Railway and as such has a very similar bow profile to her Windermere sister, Tern of 1891, which is still operational today. Derwentwater had a similarly-named passenger launch, Lady of the Lakes, which operated between the wars.

The name has been common across inland waterways, particularly on boats associated with the tourist trade. Both Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine have also had a Lady of the Lake of their own. The name derives from Sir Walter Scott's poem Lady of the Lake, published in 1810.

Robert Beale