Star Yachts at the Williamson

About This Project

Through an experiment with Digital Skills in Museums, three of our volunteers have put together a small exhibition of the history of Star Yachts of Birkenhead, England, that created iconic pond yachts that were sailed in boating lakes locally and around the world and are now highly collectible.

Star Yachts was started after World War One and was founded by Franz Marie Denye, a Belgian refugee who had fled from Belgium at the start of the war.

Denye was originally a builder of full size boats, but he realised that creating models could create an income for his family.  Star Yachts produced small boats suitable for playing with in the bath up to larger scale models which were up to 30 inches long with more complex rigging.

The factory was compulsorily purchased to clear the site for new development around Conway Park railway station in 1990. At that point, the family closed the business. The factory was demolished by 1991.

Through looking through the items from the collection, talking to enthusiasts and former employees as well as the Denye family, we have made a start on highlighting yet another local enterprise unique to Birkenhead. It ties in with a small re-hang of the watercolour collection to reflect a maritime time theme to commemorate the Zeebrugge Raid and tie in with the celebrations for the return of the Tall Ships to the Mersey in May. The exhibition is in Gallery Six, which has murals by Joseph Venning and there will be space for contributions to the exhibition.


Please note that the galleries are open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm, but staff shortages may necessitate early closure of some rooms at the end of the day.

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Exhibitions, What’s On