First owners: 1900 – 1935

First owners: 1900 – 1935

From 1900 until 1905, Lloyds Register of Yachts lists two owners for ‘Cachalot’: RC Boothby of Sydenham, London and WA Fraser, also of London. ‘Cachalot’ did not have an engine at this time and was registered at Shoreham, London. From 1934 she was registered in Ipswich. 

In a letter written by Katharine Smith to Jenny Kiloh in 1990, she talks about her father buying ‘Cachalot’ in about 1907 and selling her in about 1922. According to the letter, Katharine’s father lived in London at the time (she was not born until 1912), and kept the boat at Fambridge on the River Crouch, Suffolk in the care of a local man named Ernie Flick. According to Katharine, ’Cachalot’ was known locally as the ‘full-rigged ship’ due to her father’s frequent use of a large tops’l. Based on entries in the Lloyds Register of Yachts, and correspondence via email with staff at Kilburn & Strode, we discovered that Katharine’s father was Bertram Edward Dunbar Kilburn, listed in Lloyds as owning ‘Cachalot’ between 1906 and 1927. He lived in Hyde Park, London and was a member of sailing clubs in Fambridge and Mersea. In 2019, following nomination for the Classic Boat Magazine Restoration of the Year Award, we were contacted by Jim Miller, a Partner at Kilburn & Strode. He sent a photo of BE Dunbar Kilburn from the Company archives along with some notes about his career. 

A noted sailor, Mr Kilburn, born in 1872, was a proper Victorian polymath. As well as an MA from Trinity, Cambridge, he was President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Fellow of the Royal Meteorology Society, Chairman of the Junior Institution of Engineers and Companion of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He worked with a number of the truly great engineers of the first half of the last century including Sir Harry Ricardo, Major Frank Halford (designer of the Gypsy Major, Napier Sabre, de Havilland Goblin and Ghost engines) and Sir Richard Fairey, all respectively Presidents of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers or the Royal Aeronautical Society. His daughter, Lady Cecilia, married William Forbes-Sempill. Apart from being appointed High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, I think Mr Kilburn’s most endearing feature was probably his monocle.

Jim Miller, Partner, Kilburn & Strode, 2019

Between 1928 and 1931, two ladies are listed as owners in the Lloyds Register of Yachts: Mrs Ellen Margaret Stubbs of Leigh-on-Sea and Mrs Florence E Oliver of Coventry. There is no record for ‘Cachalot’ in the Lloyds Register of Yachts between 1932 and 1935.