HLF supports The Consuta Project

Work on Consuta

Consuta's new boiler

The photos above show the new boiler after welding. The boiler is presently being kept at Manor Farm Engineering because there is nowhere at Beale Park to keep it under cover at the moment. This does however allow for some further work that needs to be done.

It is a pity but Consuta is having to be kept outside, we are hoping for some good news by mid January about alternative covered accommodation possibilities at the park. This delay unfortunately means that we have already lost five months from the planned refurbishment programme timetable, so it is unlikely that Consuta will be operational in 2018. There will however be plenty of opportunities to come along (in warmer weather) to help with or see all the interesting work that is being done.

Photos of Consuta's bilges

The two photos above show:- on the left the space below the boiler after being cleaned. The photo on the right provides a stark contrast between the before and after cleaning work using a wetvac.

The area under the engine has to be done so we will need to lift the engine out for this part. All this oily mess was due to two holes in the silencer which allowed that oily water waste from the exhaust to end up in the bilges instead of the ashpan where it would have been burnt off. The bilge paint however after cleaning look in remarkably good condition.

Activity News

The Project Exhibition Unit

The photo on the right shows the project unit closed up for the winter, the large photo of Consuta is on the lift up lid section, looks good doesn't it?

Other news is that we now have a covered trailer suitable for keeping the new boiler secure and dry.

The Trust are now collecting all the new fittings required for the replacement boiler.

We've accrued a wide range of vintage Thames films several of them showing Consuta from the early 1900's. This collection also has a large number of Thames boating and riverside scenes all from the past. So if you visit the exhibition (check the calendar above for when open), please ask if you can see these.

A visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum

Our Consuta Project Activities Coordinator - Jennie - has suggested a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London to see and exhibition named "Plywood: A Material of the Modern World"

Jennie says "I have suggested a visit to the V&A - despite the lack of reference to Consuta Plywood!!!!" If you look at the V&A site it gives some details about the history of plywood but makes no mention of Consuta Plywood. An omission which makes for a good topic of discussion . . . ."

As you know Consuta is uniquely constructed from one of the earliest forms of ply. Sadly, the V&A seems to have overlooked the work of Sam Saunders and his patented Consuta Plywood was an important stage in the development of this versatile material! However, the exhibition should still be worth a visit.

Join Jennie on Saturday 28 October 2017 and please meet in the main entrance at 10.30am. If you are not able to make this date the exhibition is on until 12 November 2017 For more information visit the V&A Museum website

Latest Project News

The new boiler in Flat Pack form?

The boiler barrel arrives - rolled and welded tube with various stay and fitting holes

I wonder if there are instructions on how to assemble this flat pack boiler.
Definitely must use a coded welder for the work.

This interesting photo shows most of the bits that are needed to make a boiler. There are some parts that are not shown, the barrel, stays and the tubes aren't here.

The weight of all the bits (some not shown) will be about 0.6 ton before they are welded up.

More soon.

The Consuta Trust have been awarded an HLF grant for

"The Consuta Project"

The trustees are delighted to have been awarded a Lottery Funded grant of £99,500 which will enable the Trust to restore the steam launch Consuta to its original displacement weight, using a much improved loco type boiler fitted with a lower boiler casing as built by Sam Saunders.

We have now established a public exhibition at Beale Park open on specific days as shown on the calendar above. This exhibition will have a variety of activities giving visitors an opportunity to learn more about the developments of steam river launches on the Thames during the 19th century.

Steam launches represent the very first uses of mechanical machinery for moving river craft, and there were amazing developments during the later part of the Victorian age. The Consuta project will:-

  • Undertake a series of works to build and install a more original steam plant together with a range of measures and improvements to the steam management and it's operation.
  • Create an interpretative display near by the launch's current location at Beale Park. The focus for the display will be the story of the historic development of fast steam powered river launches and how marine engineers overcame many of the early design problems.
  • Recruit an Activities Coordinator and Project Assistant for the interpretation display.
  • Provide informal training and skills development for up to twenty people in a range of the related disciplines required for operating, maintaining and conserving this type of launch.

Press Release

Here is a copy of the Press Release


The Trust have appointed two part time staff to work at the project's Beale Park exhibition unit near Pangbourne, RG8 9NW.

If you would like to know more about the project, please contact us by email

The new work on Consuta

Some images from the 3D Cad File

David has now set up a superb 3D CAD file for not only the boiler detail but also Consuta's lines and top works, using 'Onshape', an excellent 3D cad software programme. This software will be used to check out the many detail changes needed to fit the new boiler. Have a look at the the sectioned 3D images below.

The image below shows the difference in height between current adn new superstructure