Lifeboats at Redcar

Zetland                                     1802  – 1864
United Free Gardeners               1877 – 1898 Known locally as the         ‘Emma’

 Sir James Knottwas the last of the traditional lifeboats which were superceded by various inflatable’s which have served Redcar ever since. The Sir James Knott is now housed in the Kirkleatham Museum,
Kirkleatham Village, Redcar.

The “Zetland”is now housed in the Zetland Museum, Promenade, Redcar.

Royal National Lifeboat Institute

Crossley  1864 – 1867
Burton -on-Trent  1867 – 1884 
Brothers 1884 – 1907
Fifi & Charles 1907 – 1931
Louisa Polden 1931 – 1951
City of Leeds  1951 – 1965
Aquila Wren 1965 – 1972
Sir James Knott 1972 – 1986


“Louisa Polden”

The media coverage at the time wrote about the shipwreck of the “Louisa Polden”, and how she nearly came to grief. Here is another story taken from the Cleveland Standard the newspaper at the time which makes interesting reading.

In the face of raging blizzard on Friday night, 24th, February, 1933, the “Louisa Polden”, Redcar new lifeboat made her first voyage in answer to an S.O.S. There were hundreds of people on the shore when the boat put out with a crew of seven. Her Chief Engineer was absent. Five minutes later he arrived just to see the boat disappearing into the swirling snow and spray. Shorly afterwards a further wireless message was receive stating that the “Sheaf Arrow”, the boat which had sent out the S.O.S. was no longer in need of assistance. It was to late to recall the “Louisa Polden” and the Redcar boat spent six hours searching for the crippled vessel. “Somewhere north of Whitby”

Mr. R. Stonehouse the coxswain, gave a thrilling account of the voyage to a Cleveland Standard reporter…
Shortly after midnight he related ” We put out on a east south easterly course. We were fighting in the teeth of a gale, and it was snowing all the time. It was intensely cold, and the sea was very rough – the first rough sea our boat had to face. “She rode like a cork”. For three and a half hours we searched in the rain and driving sleet, but we found nothing of the “Sheaf Arrow”. We might have passed of her and never known, so bad were the conditions. We had to steer by aid of a flashlight. The Redcar Lifeboat arrived back about quarter to six on Saturday morning.

Considerable uneasiness was occasioned by the prolonged absence, as never in living memory has a Redcar life-boat stayed out for six hours. There was still a lot of people waiting on the shore, and an enthusiastic cheer went up as the boat landed.

The “Sheaf Arrow” arrived in the Tyne shortly before noon the same day.

04/03/1933. A tribute to their gallantry in putting out in a storm to aid a ship in distress has recently been received by the RLNI from the master of the Newcastle vessel “Sheaf Arrow”. The Captain is sending a donation to the RNLI.

He writes,

On behalf of the officers, engineers and crew of the Sheaf “Arrow”, I wish to extend to the institution their very warmest appreciation of, and thanks, for the strenuous efforts made by all concerned with the Tees and Redcar lifeboats, when they put out to sea on the night of February 24th-25th, to come to the assistance when our ship was in grave danger of foundering off Whitby. When there appeared to be little, or no possibilty of the “Sheaf Arrow” living through the night, the knowledge that the institutes boats were coming to our aid put fresh heart into them. 

Acknowledgment. Cleveland Advertiser 1933.

Footnote. Redcar Past and Present would like to know where the other 8 lifeboats
mentioned above are. Have they been destroyed, still in service elsewhere,
or just serving a useful purpose for someone. Please let us know.




dean February 3, 2010 Lifeboat