Slipper launches have been used as pleasure boats on the Thames since the early 1900s


The first slipper launch was designed and built by John Andrews at his father’s boatyard in Maidenhead in 1913. Incorporating a steering wheel and gearbox, for easy manoeuvrability and handling, it was stylistically similar to the British sports cars of the day with its distinctive shape, he called it 'Merk' after Mercedes. John went on to establish his own boatyard, Andrews Boathouses of Bourne End, in 1925.


During the 1930s, Andrews evolved the design replacing the original straight bow and flat bottom with a hard chine and a deep 'V' bow, thus the Greyhound was created. Built to 25ft and 30ft, they seated between four and eight passengers and were powered by Austin and later BMC Vedette engines. Andrews continued building slipper launches until the 1970s. Andrews' boatyard in Bourne End closed in 1983.


In 2021, Andrews Boathouses was reborn by a group of enthusiastic collectors of slipper launches. Having purchased a fleet of original boats which are currently being restored to "Concours Condition", we are also building new slipper launches following the original lines and design.