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Lacewing – an elegant, electrified Gibbs launch


A charming Venetian style electric launch with midships cabin area

Lacewing is a favourite of mine being just 23ft in length but feeling so much bigger with seating for six to eight in three distinct areas. The boat has cushioned bench seating while in the cabin area there are two lloyd loom chairs and mahogany corner cabinets. As you walk through the domed cabin you arrive in a small aft cockpit again with seating on either side and room for rope work in the locks. Lacewing is similar in design to an Andrews day launch but with more shape as the Andrews tends to be a little boxy while the Gibbs has more curves and a lighter more airy day cabin although this area is strictly for socialising with no hob or loo.

Lacewing was electrified for her present owner in 2020 by Henley Technical Services during a major refit at Henley Sales and Charter Ltd. She celebrated her 75th birthday this year having been built in 1958 to a design of which I believe Gibbs built just two. The other, L’Aieule, also moors in Henley on Thames but has a less luxurious fit out. This design would look perfectly at home in Venice although they might struggle to keep up with a local motoscafo heading for the airport !

Lacewing belonged to a doctor in Henley for many years whose wife appreciated the midships cabin for keeping out of the sun and serving drinks. When I sold her to the current owners they spent lavishly on her and all invoices are available to view. The work included new solid mahogany decks to replace the plywood decking, the cabin was extensively refurbished, the white hull was stripped and painted navy, all new furnishings were chosen and a traditional coconut matting carpet fitted. There are two covers, one for winter and one for summer. The BSS certificate is valid through to May 2026.

Please call the office for an appointment to view.

Some additional information on the original owner of Lacewing forwarded by Tim O Keefe who owns a traditional boatyard in Datchet :


” Lacewing was designed and built in 1958 at Gibbs boatyard in Shepperton for Lord and Lady Craigton to his Lordship’s specifications;   he allowed one other boat to be built to the same design.  (This boat is on the Henley reach writes GN with a navy blue hull). Lacewing was moored at the Craigtons house in Wraysbury until 1992.

In 1992, the Craigtons felt that the boat had deteriorated to the point where they couldn’t justify refurbishment work in their advancing years so I purchased it off of them.

The restoration included new sections of chine at the bow, a new section of hog and bottom planking in the stern,   the top two inches of hull cut away and a hardwood sheer strake fitted,   new floor bearers, bulkheads and flooring, complete new deck, covering boards and windscreen. We also veneered the cabin sides,   and rebuilt the engine.

After that I exhibited her ashore at the 1993 Traditional Boat Rally,   and sold her to Mrs Thompson of Quarry Wood Road Marlow in August 1993.

It’s nice to see that 30 years on she is still looking good and obviously cared for.”


Obituary: Lord Craigton

Tam Dalyell Monday 2 August 1993 00:02

The Independent

Jack Izod (Jack Nixon Browne), politician: born Rugby 3 September 1904; CBE 1944; MP (Conservative) for Govan Division of Glasgow 1950-55, for Craigton Division of Glasgow 1955-59; Parliamentary Private Secretary to Secretary of State for Scotland 1952-55; Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Scottish Office 1955-59, Minister of State 1959-64; created 1959 Baron Craigton; PC 1961; Chairman, United Biscuits (Holdings) 1967-72; Chairman, All-Party Conservation Group of both Houses of Parliament 1972-83; married 1935 Helen Inglis (one son deceased; marriage dissolved 1949), 1950 Eileen Nolan; died 28 July 1993.

Long before it was fashionable, Craigton was a champion of conservation. Indeed, as a frequent attender in Committee Room 4B in the Lords corridor, to which Craigton invited speakers to the All Party Conservation Group of both Houses of Parliament, I would marvel at how the curmudgeonly and irascible minister with whom I had had dealings in the early 1960s could have metamorphosed into a genial, effective, dedicated pioneer of enlightened conservation policies. Part of the answer was that, though he represented a Scottish constituency by chance, he was ill at ease with the Scots, and the Scots wondered how he had come to hold ministerial office in St Andrew’s House. It was Browne’s misfortune that his life as a parliamentary private secretary, parliamentary secretary, and Minister of State was confined to the Scottish Office.

Browne was the son of Edwin Izod, a businessman connected with mining machinery who had bases both in Rugby and Johannesburg. He was born in 1904 and spent much of his boyhood in South Africa where the seeds were sown of his lifelong fascination with fauna and flora. When Harold Macmillan made him a life peer in 1959, his friends were not surprised that he took an unusual coat of arms of six leopard faces.

Izod, as he then was, was sent to Cheltenham College. In 1920, under family pressure, he changed his name from Izod to Nixon Browne, because it was thought to be more acceptable to the business milieu in Britain in which the family moved.

In 1939, Browne volunteered for the RAF, and made his name in Balloon Command. This was later to be a source of some unkind ribaldry among parliamentary colleagues who thought that they themselves had been at a rather sharper end of the struggle against Hitler. However, one man at least took a different view, and that man was in a position to know. After I was elected to Parliament in 1962, I used to visit Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Tedder, my father’s crippled, but still alert, widower cousin at his Surrey home. In the course of conversation Tedder said: ‘Do you have anything to do with Nixon Browne, now Lord something or another?’ ‘Yes,’ I replied.’ ‘Inventive fellow,’ Tedder said, ‘did a good job with his balloons in protecting our runways and cities.’ Arthur Tedder was not one to praise an acting group captain like Browne without reason.


Gibbs of Trowlock Island
Year of build
6ft 5in

Please call Gillian on 01491 578 870 for more information


Henley Sales and Charter Ltd have gained a reputation over the last 30 years for selling and chartering beautiful, classic boats. Experience of operating and selling boats on the river Thames enables us to offer expert objective advice to prospective owners on all aspects of boat ownership including purchase, surveys, repairs and moorings. We will do our best to find the ideal craft to suit your individual needs - for a day or for a lifetime.

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