Borwick & Sons

On 10 February 1900, the partnership formed in 1890 of Nathaniel Shepherd and Isaac Borwick was amicably dissolved.

Isaac Borwick began a new business with his sons: John as draughtsman and master yacht builder, George dealing with administration and Arthur in the engineering department. The location remained at Cockshott, Bowness-on-Windermere.

The association with aviation began in early 1910 with the floats and aeroplanes of Oscar Gnosspelius, and included propellers, maintenance and repair.

Borwick’s made Waterbird’s floats; Arthur Borwick was present for Waterbird’s first flight on 25 November 1911.

Whilst new opportunities were presented to Borwick’s, they were not without personal risk! In September 1912, Arthur Borwick lost the tops of 2 fingers which came into contact with a propeller (which ironically he had made) when turning it to start Waterhen’s (Waterbird’s successor) engine.  George Borwick was turning a propeller for Gnosspelius when the engine roared into life and the propeller did ‘quick and irreparable damage to his traditional summer straw hat’. – Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club: From 1925 to 1975 by G Lambert and G E G Nayler.

Bill Bland started building boats for Windermere in 1899, and began employment with Borwick’s in 1908. During World War One, lifeboats were made for the Merchant Navy and Fleetwood fishing smacks, and 30-odd seaplane tenders for the RAF. Bland claimed that Borwick’s turned out more work during the war for the size of the workshop than anywhere else in the country. – Cumbria magazine, January 1954.

In 1918, Borwick’s were subcontracted by Dick, Kerr & Co. of Preston to construct Felixtowe F.3 flying boat hulls.

They became Borwick’s (Windermere) Limited and their premises were demolished during 1973-75 upon being taken over by Windermere Aquatic Limited in 1972.


Windermere: birthplace of British naval and civil marine aeroplanes