Kisiwani is Swahili for "On the island". Kisiwani II was built in 1977 for a Professor P S Garlake by Mike Bristow of Bristowcraft in Norwich using mouldings acquired from Hampton's Oulton Broad "factory". Professor Garlake was a famous South African archaeologist who had a boat called Kisiwani 1 on Lake Victoria. He took up a teaching post at University College London in 1977 and had the boat custom built and fitted out to his specific requirements.
In 1981 the current owners Edward and Lyndon purchased the boat after Professor Garlake returned to Africa. Making some enquiries via Mike Bristow at the time, he said it had been built without specific regard to cost, for example, all surfaces were lined with Formica throughout for very easy maintenance. Kisiwani II has therefore never been a hire boat and with just two owners in it's entire history it has been very well maintained with many original features still intact.
For the past 35 years Kisiwani 2 has been serviced etc. by Stephen and Andrew Malpas of Oxford Cruisers Ltd, Eynsham. Oxon.
Kisiwani II has always been based on the upper levels of the River Thames close to Oxford. Originally located in Osney and since 1981 at Newbridge.
The mooring, belonging to an ancient Inn, is next to the 13th. century bridge. Interestingly stone from a local quarry was transported from this mooring down the Thames to London for the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral in the 17th. Century.
Kisiwani II's current long standing owners are Edward Brooks and the Reverend Lyndon Van Der Pump. Edward and Lyndon were members of the original Hampton Safari Club (i.e. the one that preceded this incarnation of the club, that was reinstated in 2010 by Brian and Jan Quarrington).
Edward (90 years young) and Lyndon (93 years young) are both avid boaters having been introduced to the Thames waterways and thames cruising by a friend Joan Chissell.
Edward Brooks and Rev Lyndon Van Der Pump are both former professional singers who later became Professors of Singing at the Royal College of Music with Edward later at the Royal Academy of Music also. Lyndon's pupil the famous baritone Gerald Finley sang at the last night of the Proms this year (2018). Lyndon was ordained in in 1988. Here is the story of their first introduction to Thames cruising and their maiden voyage from Osney Mill to Newbridge in Kisiwani II in their own words:
"In 1981 we were invited by our great friend Joan Chissell (Music critic of "The Times") to a cruise on her Freeman moored at Newbridge on the Thames. We both fell in love with cruising and decided to get a boat. Joan said we were the only two of her friends to follow in her footsteps and actually get a boat. Almost within days we had acquired Professor Garlake's boat which he had left at Osney Marina when he returned to South Africa.
Our journey form Osney Marina to Newbridge on Palm Sunday 1981 was a complete nightmare. Neither of us had ever steered a boat before and the boatyard neglected to tell us that the steering mechanism had rusted up for some reason and was not working properly. Because of very strong winds we tried going into several locks sideways and we lost much of the loose equipment to trees and bushes overhead.
Fortunately in those days there were lock keepers who helped us! Thank goodness, being March , there were no other boats about. We did eventually arrived at Newbridge where Joan had almost given up all hope (Pre mobile phone era). Lyndon had been "Navigating" Kisiwani and was delirious on the car journey back to London! "
Although we are now in our nineties, we feel that we could have carried on boating a little longer if there were always a lock keeper on duty at locks.
Unfortunately since Thames Water lost control of the river to the Environment Agency the river has become in a neglected state with very deep and dangerous manually controlled locks on the upper Thames left unmanned. At our ages we must have a lock keeper's assistance at these locks.
Sadly we are therefore nearing the end of our boating days and will be looking to find a new owner for Kisiwani II hopefully for the next 37 years!
Article submitted by :
Edward Brooks and The Reverend Lyndon van der Pump