REDCAR – Lifeboats and South Shields Origin

Accreditation to AN OLD STAGER  Redcar & Saltburn-by-the-Sea Gazette 02/06/1894




From numberless versions as to the origin of the lifeboat, space will allow for a mere glance. In 1789, the inhabitants of South Shields had been spectators of many shocking disasters at the entrance of the Tyne. A committee was formed, and premiums offered for the best invention calculated to brave the dangers of the sea in storms. WILLIE WOODHAVE and HENRY GREATHEAD suggested various methods, but none of these was adopted in its entirety. It was resolved, however, to combine the different proposals, and GREATHEAD was nominated to build the first lifeboat. She was known as the “Original” – launched in 1790, was rent in twain on rocks in 1830. The “Tyne” was built in 1833, and her last achievement was on the 6th December, 1832, having rescued one thousand and twenty-three lives, during 50 years. At Her Majesty’s jubilee in 1887, £500 was raised to erect a memorial to Woodhave and Greathead, in the form of a square tower and steeple, fountain, medallion of Woodhave, model boat by Greathead in a storm, and a four-dial clock costing £90. On Monday, 7th, May, 1894, the sheltered platform for the “Tyne” was completed and she was elevated to her position as a devoted relic from the treacherous ocean.



On the 7th October, 1802, the famous lifeboat was built by Greathead, arrived at Redcar, and was joyously christened “Zetland.” On September 12th, 1864, the “Crossleys” superseded the “Zetland,” after sixty four years of usefulness, being now in her ninety third year –


with the additional blessing of having saved upwards of four hundred lives.

By way of contrast with the generous actions at South Shields and Redcar, the fact may be stated that in 1864, the National Lifeboat Institution condemned the “Zetland” to be broken up for firewood! A jack-of-all-trades gathered together his iron chisels, big hammers, axes &c., and was about to commence operations. Spectators were indignant at the desecration of their pet idol, and shouted, “Hold a bit! She’s as sound as ivver, and better than new uns.” Deputations interviewed the official, Capt. Ward, and “begged” the old craft for Redcar fishermen, on condition that she was never to be employed against the National Boats. Redcarites, proud of the ownership of their dear old friend, subscribed their mites, fishermen contributed 2/6d each. Lord Zetland and Squire Yeoman assisted, and she was sent to South Shields for repairs, at a cost of about 100. And thus we have verification of the motto on her hull,

“Thine age shall be respected,

Thy youth perchance restored,”

so far as appearances go, in being re-painted and fitted up for a visit to Huddersfield, on 23rd of June  

From the most reliable documents available, we present a summary of



On the 8th, March, 1804, “The Rose” struck on Redcar rocks. The “Zetland” could not approach the vessel, but 26 lives were saved by fishing cobles.

March 25th, 1808, the “Caledonia,” Aberdeen, laden with granite, struck the Saltscar rocks. During the night only the helmsman was on deck. At the first crash he awoke the crew of 23. A signal of distress was fired, but not heard on shore. The captain refused to fire another gun; but the powder had become wet, and their efforts were in vain, and the vessel began to break up. Sixteen of the crew ventured in a boat and were lost. In the morning the “Zetland” heaved to the ship, and saved the remaining seven. The dead bodies of ten were picked up and taken to the Red Lion Hotel, and afterwards buried five in a row in one grave, at Marske. There are two headstones, Captain Booth, aged 50, another to Mr. Burnett, aged 18. Portions of the granite, with which the “Caledonia” was laden, were used in paving the footpaths in Moore Street, Redcar, and were only removed four years ago. Odd pieces are still to be found as relics of this catastrophe.

Nov. 18th, 1809. – Four ships ashore in Tees Bay. “Zetland” saved two crews, numbering 10; the rest perished.

Oct. 14th, 1814. – The “Two Brothers,” Whitby, stranded on South Gar. Crew of 7 saved by the “Zetland.”

Nov. 15th, 1817. – “The Rifleman,” Portsmouth, totally wrecked on Redcar rocks. Crew of 9 taken off by the “Zetland.”

Sept. 6th, 1826. – A large Greenland whaler named the “Esk,” was lost near Marske. Out of the crew of 29 only three were saved. Witnesses of the awful spectacle of poor humanity ever and anon cast ashore by the remorseless as waves, the harassing scenes of destruction on the sands for miles, was one which could never be effaced from memory.

Dec. 9th, 1834. – The brig “Mowbray,” was driven ashore between Redcar and Coatham. The “Zetland” rescued 10 seamen, and returned to the shore. Whilst gazing at the distant vessel, the boatmen observed two boys lashed to the rigging who had been left behind. In the meantime the tide had receded, affording a better chance of reaching the “Mowbray,” though at imminent peril George Robinson, coxswain, launched a small boat, and alone succeeded in bringing the two boys to land. For this noble deed a subscription was entered upon at Stockton, and in May, 1835, a silver tankard was presented to Robinson, which is still an heirloom at Redcar. The memory of George Robinson as coxswain is still in good repute among the senior classes of fishermen, whom he frequently admonished when on a risky journey, thus – “Noo, lads! Ah know you’ll dee yer best. Don’t forget there’s twenty- three on us!” and away the sallied, brightening all eyes, and cheering those in despair. Robinson died in 1859, aged 63.

On Christmas Day, 1836, according to his tombstone in Redcar Churchyard, William Guy, pilot, in his 41st year, was “plunged into eternity whilst engaged with others in a brave but fruitless attempt to render assistance to the crew of a Danish vessel off Redcar.” The name of the vessel was “Caroline,” with ten men on board. The “Zetland” was manned by 22, George Robinson, coxswain, two men to each oar. The boisterous ocean drove the “Caroline” and lifeboat hither and thither. The crew of the doomed vessel left in two boats, and one came within what Guy thought easy distance for hooking or casting a line. In the attempt he was washed overboard and lost to sight in a moment. The “Zetland” was smothered in the sea, ran several hundred yards invisible and ultimately washed ashore between Redcar and Coatham. Nineteen out of the twenty-two oars were dashed out of the men’s hands by the waves. William Guy was the only man lost from the “Zetland.” Seventeen days after, Guy’s body was picked up in the vicinity of Staithes and recognised by initials on his stockings and underclothing. Two of the heroic crew of the above mishap are still residing in Redcar, and familiarly known as Jacky Stonehouse aged 87, Thomas Boagey, retired captain, aged 73.

Saturday, 13th Nov., 1841, was calm, lovely evening when the “Susanna,” collier brig, sailed from Middlesbrough, but during the night a terrific gale arose. On the following morning she was opposite the Coatham, at easy distance from the sand hills where the Convalescent Home now exists. The masts wriggled to and fro, the sails were in tatters, whilst the ill-found, rotten vessel plunged into the troughs of the sea, or was hoisted by the waves mountains high, in view of scores of anxious spectators. The “Zetland” hovered near to save the crew of 11, but was unable to render assistance. The “Susanna” was cast upon the sand bank and every soul perished. A dog belonging the vessel swam ashore, and was carefully nursed. On board the “Susanna” was a near relative of Capt. Thos Boagey, of Redcar.

Nov. 15th, 1854 – The “Erskine” was wrecked on Lyedam Scar. Twenty-six fishermen endeavoured to reach the vessel in their cobles, but the sea rising quickly into a storm, the attempt was not successful. The ship with her masts gone, was thrown on her broadside, with the keel towards the shore. Sailors clambered on her exposed parts, and were rescued by the “Zetland.” On this occasion the “Zetland” carried 52 persons on shore, namely 9 of the crew of the ship, the 26 fishermen who tried to reach her in cobles, and 17 lifeboat men. In the absence of Sheildon, Robinson volunteered as cox, saying, “Aw’ll dee what aw can for ye.”

January 5th, 1857 – On this occasion great credit was due to the young men of Redcar, whose ages ranged from 17 to 21, in manning the “Zetland” lifeboat and two cobles, with Robert Shieldon as coxswain, to rescue the barque “EMMA,” off Redcar. When the “Zetland” was in easy distance from the ship the captain leaped into the lifeboat, but the crew refused to follow his example. Sufficient money was raised by subscriptions to present Shieldon with a gold watch, for his tact in saving nine lives. Willie Upton, now 76, followed Shieldon as cox.  

On the 10th, February, 1864, occurred one of the most disastrous gales within recollection of the oldest seafaring community in Tees Bay. The brig “Roman Empress” was smashed to atoms, but the “Zetland” was lucky, in rescuing ten of the crew.

On the 11th January, 1870, about 11.30 pm., the brig “Berdhinska,” of Whitby, whilst on voyage from Shields to the West Indies, with a cargo of coal, struck the West Scar Rocks. The weather at the time was hazy, and the captain took Hartlepool light for that at Seaham Harbour. Some of the fishermen went to her assistance, and thirteen of them agreed to get her off for £60. This they did the next tide, with the help of a steam tug: and being very leaky, she was taken to Hartlepool. She had lost her rudder, and sustained much damage in consequence of rolling on the rocks.

On December 9th, 1874, a couple of collisions occurred with Coatham Pier. The brig “Griffin,” of Southampton, bound for Sunderland with a crew of seven ran through the shore end of the pier. There were carried away about six lengths of wood work and iron fittings. After striking and clearing the pier, the “Griffin” drifted about 100 yards inshore, and became embedded in the sand nearly opposite Coatham Hotel, where portions of her hull still remain. The “Griffin” was laden with valuable oak. The crew were saved. The schooner “Carrymbus,” Dundee, five hands, all belonging to Arbroath, Boulogne to Shields, passed through the same pier, midway from the saloon to the north end, and carried away on her bulwarks an iron girder towards Warrenby, after losing her bowsprit rigging, &c. The crew were below at the time of the accident, and remained there till the tide receded, and then walked ashore. The desolate and shivered condition of Coatham Pier, divided into three sections, with long gaps between each, was appalling. The repairs were estimated to cost £1,500. The “Garibaldi” was also cast on the beach, facing Newcomen Terrace East. The crew were saved. There was thus four vessels ashore in one day, within a mile of each other.

Oct, 28th, 1880, – The brig “Luna” dashed into Redcar Pier, at about 11 pm., and carried off about sixty yards, smashed six girders, and cracked other two. The “Luna” lost her anchor and masts at sea, and was shattered. The captain’s leg was broken in by an iron column passing through the cabin skylight. The deck was covered with debris but the crew were fortunately below. The men, however, were not rescued until four o’clock next morning. This was the last noble performance of the “Zetland,” when she carried seven to the shore. Somewhat odd on the same day, the schooner “Luna” ran dangerously near the north end of Coatham pier, about six o’ clock in the morning, towards Warrenby. The crew were rescued by the “Free Gardeners’ Lifeboat, “Emma.”

From sixty to seventy years ago, when collier sailing vessels were in full swing, “Richmond’s Records of Stockton and Neighbourhood” (a scare book), afford ample statistics of the dreadful shipwrecks annually, and sacrifice of hundreds of lives. Thus., Vessels lost or foundered –

November 4th, 1821, 95    October 11th, 1824,      140
October 14th, 1829,  47    November 24th 1829      59
August, 31st, 1833  121

The total was 462

On October 11th, 1824, there were 37 vessels ashore within ashore within a range of six miles in Tees Bay. No doubt exists of the pluck and stamina of our sea-faring population, which are equal to all demands on their services, but, compared with the days of yore, the duties of lifeboat crews are now mere trifles.

We have not been very successful in tracing reliable Merchant Shipping data, except the words “Brig,” “sloop,” &c, being the only guides, no numbers as to lives saved, or by what methods, leaving plenty of scope for “guessing” at the results. We have therefore omitted all reference to these disconnected outlines which commence with September 29th, 1825. Resort for the best information has been to Richmond, Wm. Hutton (1808), Orde’s Cleveland. Tweddel, scrap books, old newspapers, &c. &c. Personal inquiries for confirmation of facts, have also been made of those who have a life-long experience as toilers on the sea.

In September, 1864, Lord Stratford de Redcliffe was on a visit at Upleatham Hall, and wrote the following poem. Lord Stratford was British Ambassador at Constantinople during the Crimean War.


The Life-boat oh! The Lifeboat, we all have known so long.
A refuge for the feeble, the glory of the strong;

Twice thirty years have vanished since first upon the wave
She housed the drowning mariner, and snatched him from the grave.

Let others deem her crazy, no longer fit to breast

The surge that, madly driven, bears down with foaming crest;

But we, who oft have mann’d her, when death was on the prow,

We cannot bear to leave her, nor will we leave her now.

Our fathers long before us her worth in danger tried;

Their fathers too have steered her amidst the boiling tide;

We love her, – ‘tis no wonder, – we can but follow them;

Let Heav’n but never word of man – the dear old boat “condemn”

The voices of the rescued, – their numbers may be read, –

The tears of speechless feeling our wives and children shed, –

The memories of mercy in man’s extremest need, –

All for the dear old life-boat uniting seem to plead.

The Pow’r Unseen that lashes to storm the briny pool,
And, when the blast is keenest, forbids our heats to cool,

The hand of earthly kindness, that gave our boat its life,

That made it, bird-like, flutter o’er waves deadly strife.

And now that kindred Spirit, who makes the poor his care,

Shall heed our fond remembrance, nor spurn the seaman’s prayer:

Another craft, and brighter, may stem the raging gale; –

The plea of sixty winters, old friend! can never fail.

Thine Age shall be respected, thy Youth perchance restored,

And sires and sons together shall press thy heaving board:

No fears that storms be wanting: and, call it old or new,

We’ll cheer the boat that’s foremost to save a sinking crew.


In addition to the splendid life-boat services at home and abroad, reference to the offer from the proprietors of the Daily Graphic, of a reward of £100 for the invention of the best means of communication may be interesting to many of our local shipping community


The above proposal was made in February 1892, on the 31st of March, two thousand two hundred projects were received, while 300 more were sent to late for consideration, a total of 2,500. The Judges were Rear-Admiral Seymour, Capt. Vivian, and Capt. Wyatt. Their award was published in the Daily Graphic on the 2nd June, 1892, and the £100 price was granted to Messrs. Noble and Thomson, Southampton, for their Boxer-Rocket Grapnel. The three judges conclude thus – “That the Mercantile Fleet numbers 15,000 vessels, manned by 204,000 valuable lives, to say nothing of the passengers annually carried, with a floating capital of property at sea, on any given day, in ships and their cargoes, said to be worth not less than 200 Millions Sterling, we recommend the adoption and perfection of the best means of saving the lives of our seamen when shipwrecked. Up to date, the Boxer-Rocket Grapnel reigns supreme. Noble’s Grapnel Whip Line can be Fixed and Fired from a ship’s Deck in less than Fifty Seconds, and communication effected from the stranded ship to shore in Eighty Seconds.


In December last, a meeting of the member of this valuable institution was held in St. John Street, Adelphi, London, and Sir. E. Birkbeck, Bart, in the chair, when the second service clasp was voted to several gallant men for saving life during terrific storms of November, 1893. The thanks of the institution inscribed on vellum, were awarded to Richard Whittaker, a coastguards man, of Saltburn, for assisting a shipwrecked crew, and other persons. Rewards amounting to £3,383 were granted to crews of one hundred and ten lifeboats, for assembling on 133 occasions, during the month of December. Sums of money were also granted to shore boats, &c., for assisting at shipwrecks. Payments amounting to £7,500 were ordered to be discharged for three hundred and four lifeboats of the institution. From 18th Nov. to 21st Dec. the lifeboats were launched upwards of seventy times to aid distressed mariners, and were instrumental in saving about 800 lives.


It is gratifying to learn of the success of this movement in large towns, for the benefit of the national lifeboats, of which the following are examples – Manchester, £2,800; Glasgow, £2,400; Bradford, £1,500; Southampton; £300; Dundee, £180; Barry; £140; New South State, £25; with a handsome subscription from Liverpool, ending May 30th, 1804. The total income derived from Lifeboat Exhibitions, is a benefit to the National Lifeboat Institution, 0f £18,000 per annum.


Jan. 1804. During our many recent investigations amongst fishermen, &c., it has often asserted that there was” no other lifeboat but the Zetland hereabouts.” This is a local error. A lifeboat was established at Hartlepool on the above date (1804). About the same period, Mr. T. Backhouse, of Darlington, presented Seaton Carew with a lifeboat, and also built a shelter for its reception.

March 8th, 1804, About midnight natives of Redcar were aroused by heavy firing; thinking an enemy was off the coast, drums were beaten to arms for assembly. The SEA FENCIBLES, commanded by Capt. Thrush, were in a short time present on the sands, when proof was afforded, that minute guns were being fired from the brig “Rose” of London, which was stranded upon Redcar rocks. The lifeboat could not get near the Rose, but fishing cobles reached the vessel, and carried 26 on shore. The brig was from Cristians and, laden with timber, the vessel was totally wrecked. A patriotic poet of Stockton, addressed to the Volunteers of the district, a song entitled “The Mouth Of the Tees beginning with

Ye stout Volunteers, both of Stockton & Norton,
As loyal a corps as was ever once thought on,

Remember the day when by Allison on.

The troops were reviewed by the brave Colonel Seddon,
How he prais’d your Appearance, Manoeuvres and Dress.

What he said was your due, and he could say no less,

The let the French come as soon as they please,

But they’d better beware of the MOUTH OF THE TEES.

April, 1804. Violent storms at sea, shipwrecks; sloop on the North Gare, Seaton, where she sank and all hands perished.

June 12th, 1804. A smart action took place off Staithes, between the “Prs Augusta” cutter, and a French privateer if fourteen guns, when the latter departed, on approach of Capt. Thrush in two schooners, with a staff of the Sea Fencibles in an armed cutter.

Jan. 30th, 1807. A sloop from Newcastle for Stockton was stranded on entering the Tees. Two men assisting to clear the ship of her effects were drowned by the flowing tide over the vessel, to much grog, having rendered them incapable. The “Zetland” saved eight of the crew.

Nov. 23rd 1807. No less than seventeen ships were driven ashore within short distances of Tees Bay.

April 17th, 1812. The “Ocean” of Aberdeen, laden with granite, struck on Redcar Rocks, and shortly broke in pieces. The crew was composed of seven men and boys, four of whom perished.

Oct. 14th, 1814. The “Two Brothers”, of Whitby, with coals from Sunderland, wrecked on the South Gar, crew saved by Redcar lifeboat.

October 24th, 1822. The “St. Martin’s” from Miramichia, with timber, and the “Hawk”, from Sunderland, lost on the North Gar, crew saved.

Nov. 25th, 1825. The “Betsy and Ann” of Stockton ran ashore near Tees Mouth; vessel lost, the crew were saved. An Aberdeen vessel was wrecked in the same locality, with several crafts of smaller size, and the whole of the crews were lost.

Dec. 12th, 1830. Tremendous gale, several vessels on shore at Seaton, amongst which were the “Newcastle,” (Capt. Crowther) a Newcastle-on-Tyne ship, with crew of nine, only two were saved.

February 2nd, 1831. Twelve vessels were ashore in Tees Bay, and dozens of lives lost, with wreckage for miles.

November 2nd, 1844. A Gotenberg vessel named “Celia,”, from Memel to Hull, was wrecked at Seaton, six out of a crew of twelve, were saved.

Oct. 28th; 1852, – Twenty vessels were driven ashore; one was lost at Huntcliff, and five off Seaton and Hartlepool. The crews numbered 60, only two persons were rescued.

Jan. 3-5, 1857. – Upwards of 130 seamen perished, four vessels being lost at Hartlepool, with all hands.

Jan. 4 to 10, 1853, – Eight laden vessels grounded on the bar at Hartlepool, and a dozen were driven on the beach at Tees Mouth. At the termination of the gale, 60 ships were wrecked between the Tees and Hartlepool, 40 at Sunderland, 34 at the Tyne Mouth, and 50 others in the neighbourhood. The ‘Maiden Bower’, a rock which for ages withstood raging storms, was levelled to the ground at Hartlepool.

March 22, 1857. – On this day (Sunday), the “Margarethe,” of Hanover, was wrecked opposite Redcar. There were several pathetic incidents surrounding this catastrophe. Firstly, the master was washed overboard; secondly, two young boys were saved, but in a dying condition when landed. They were carried to the Lobster Hotel, Coatham, wrapped in blankets, well rubbed with warm flannels, and hot bottles applied to restore animation and vitality, internal stimulants to rouse action in their dead-alive unconsciousness, but all was to no avail. In Coatham Churchyard, a tombstone is erected to the memory of the two youths as follows – “Here rest the bodies of Wilhelm August Meenen, aged 14, and Staye Meenen, aged 11 who were shipwrecked in the Margarethe, of Carolinensigl, Hanover, on Sunday, March 22nd, 1857.” Three out of the crew of four were temporarily rescued by the “Zetland”, including the mate, who after a short period of careful nursing, was enabled to return to his own country.

May 10, 1840. – The “Arcturus,” of Whitby, was wrecked at the Tees Mouth. In midst of a hurricane, the “Zetland and her crew rescued nineteen men.

Dec. 21, 1845 – The “Commerce,” of Stockton, (Capt. Lister), in making for the Tees, became a total wreck. The “Zetland” was unable to overhaul the vessel, and all on board were lost, the mate’s body being washed ashore next day, terribly mangled by the rocks.

Sept. 30, 1849 – The North-east Coast afflicted with severe storms of wind and rain. Sixteen vessels were ashore between Hartlepool and South Shields. Out of four wrecks in Tees Bay, the “Zetland” rescued two of the crews. Those of the “Albion,” of Newcastle, and the “John,” of Saltcoats were drowned.

Jan. 3-5, 1857 – Four ships, bound for Hartlepool, ran ashore, and all hands lost. It was estimated, that upwards of 130 seamen perished in this gale, whilst incalculable commercial damage was sustained on land and sea.

MONDAY, 6th, SEPTEMBER, 1858. – The Tees Bay Lifeboat and Shipwreck Society agreed to transfer their boats, stores &c., to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which included the “Zetland,” of Redcar.

March 7, 1859. – The “Margaret,” of London, in ballast, struck on Redcar rocks, the crew were saved.

Nov. 26, 1859. – The “Fortuna” was wrecked, but the “Zetland” saved eleven lives. 

March 28, 1860 – Heavy snowstorms, driving numbers of vessels to ruin at Redcar, Seaton, Hartlepool, &c. The “Cora Linn,” of Stockton, laden with guano, was lost with all on board in Tees Bay. The “Zetland” was on duty, but useless. 

Oct, 1860. – A most destructive gale, damaging houses, corn stacks, fruit trees, &c., at Middlesbro’, Stockton, Redcar, &c. A most exceptional event occurred, when the ebb tide on the Tees bar was remarkably low, so that in many places, the water was not more than a foot in depth. 

Dec, 16, 1860 – The brig “Eliza,” of Stockton, was wrecked on the North Gar, near Redcar. The crew were saved. 

Jan. 15th, 1861. – The “Theodore,” laden with coals and bricks, from Dieppe to Hartlepool, was lost near Skinningrove. Eight men took a boat, which was instantly swamped, the captain alone being saved, who had a lifebuoy on.

Feb. 9, 1861. – The most fearful gale of any within recollection on the North-east coast. 60 to 70 vessels ashore near Hartlepool, upwards of 50 seamen lost between Hartlepool and Huntcliffe. At Whitby, the lifeboat was upset, and twelve lost their lives.

Nov.1, 1861.- In a tempestuous sea, a brig was forced out of Hartlepool harbour, driven across to Redcar, and stranded, the new pier at Hartlepool being damaged.

Feb. 11, 1864. – The “Zetland” saved 10 lives from the “Roman Empress,” at Redcar.

Feb. 17, 1864. – The “Zetland” rescued seven of the crew “Brothers,” at Redcar.

Feb. 13, 1862. – The brig “Sceptre,” of Middlesbrough, bound for London, with coal, whilst lying at anchor, near Lower Hope Point, was run into by “S.S. Scotia.” The Sceptre immediately sank, and three of the crew, who were asleep in the forecastle, were drowned, the master, and other five of the crew, were saved.

Oct. 20-21, 1862. – Great losses of ship and lives during these two days, on the west and North East coast. There were upwards of one hundred casualties posted at Lloyds in three days.

Feb. 20-21, 1865. – Severe weather at sea for several days. A fishing smack at Staithes, ran inshore opposite Seaton and the crew of nine were lost. The Hartlepool lifeboat was to late to render assistance,. A handsome subscription was raised for the bereaved families at Staithes.

Nov. 16, 1865. – A Margate vessel, bound for Hartlepool, was wrecked on Saltburn rocks. On the following morning, a Scarborough brig was wrecked of the same rocks. Both crews were saved.

Dec. 16, 1865. – The schooner “Helen,” from Hartlepool to Aberdeen, was lost in a terrific storm. The master fell overboard the preceding day and was drowned. The mate an apprentice only were left on the vessel; they launched the ship’s boat, and after being exposed for twenty four hours to the pitiless waves, were picked up by a Welsh schooner, and landed at Peterhead, Scotland.

March 21, 1866. – The sloop “Gipsy” of Wisbeach struck the Saltscar Rocks, Redcar, about 2 a.m. and became a total wreck. The master, his wife, and two men, were saved by the Crossley lifeboat.

June. 17, 1866. – Two lives were saved by the Crossleys, from the “Dagmar.”

July. 31, 1866.– During a heavy gale the “Ostrich,” of North Shields, soon after leaving the Tyne, ran into Manhaven, on the rocks near Marsden, when ten of the crew, including the captain, were lost, and only two were saved.


Dec. 8, 1866. – The schooner “Wrecker,” of Newcastle, on leaving the Tyne, became disabled when near the North Gare, and became a wreck, neither lifeboats nor steamers could render any assistance to the ship, but a man named George Cowell, ventured off in a small boat, with the object of relieving the crew. Unfortunately the boat capsized, and the hero was drowned. The brave fellow did not succeed in his intentions like George Robinson the Redcar pilot and coxswain, who, on Dec. 9th, 1834, saved two boys, left by the “Zetland,” from the shop Mowbray.


June 22, 1894. – Positive information has arrived at Redcar from Yorkshire, that the old Zetland Lifeboat,  “is not wanted.” It appears that the Lifeboat Saturdays at Huddersfield and Dewsbury, are to be managed more economically, by combining, and securing the same Lifeboats for each town, to save the expense of transmission from Redcar, &c. Thus after several weeks’ labour in painting, forcing, breaking, unscrewing rusty bolts in the carriage, which has entombed for thirty years in a damp, dark dungeon, opinion differ, as to whether the oldest existing lifeboat would not have been more attractive in Yorkshire than those of modern construction. During the process of renovation crowds of aged and infirm neighbours have visited the scene, anxious to gaze once more upon their old Friend-in-Need, when all others’ failed, and repeat the oft-told stories of their fathers and grandfathers. So far as the “Zetland” lifeboat is concerned, her career is closed:-

“The Light of other days’ has faded,
And all her glories past.”


But her Deeds Live in Hearts that loved her well, and they grace Britannia’s story.


The following list is from the authorised version of the National Lifeboat Institution, in the boathouse of the Brothers, Redcar.


October 25th, 1859, Isabella . . . . . . .  2
Novembe.r 26th, 1859, Fortuna . . . . .11
Feb. 11th, 1864. Roman Empress . . .10
Feb, 17th, 1864, the Brothers . . . . . . . 7


March 22nd, 1866. Gipsy . . . . . . . . . . 4

June 17th, 1866, Dagmar. . . . . . . . . . 2

The Crossley’s was then transferred to Middlesbro


Sept. 25th, 1868,  Gentle Annie . . . . . . . . 3

 Sept. 25th, 1868,  Sybil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Nov.  23rd, 1869,  Dawson . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Dec.  27th, 1876,  Francis Mary . . . . . . . . 3

  Feb.    6th,  1876, Emily . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

 Sept. 25th,  1876, Pysche . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
Sept. 29th,  1876, Morning Star . . . . . . . . 3

Jan,   22nd, 1880, Temperance Star . . .  . 2

Oct.   28th,  1880, Emanuel Boucher . . . . 7

Oct.   29th,  1880, Hayzard . . . . . . . . . . .  9

Sept. 10th,  1891, Gentle Annie . . . . . . . . 4

         Oct.    10th,   1884. Samarang . . . . . . . . . . . . 13


Nothing is further known concerning the Burton-on-Trent, but the conclusion is, that she was condemned as useless.


From 1884, the lifeboat Brothers, permanently stationed at Redcar. Joseph Burnicle was appointed coxswain in 1873, and still retains that position






Sept.   7th,  1887. Robert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2


June, 23rd,  1892. Wild Rose – Assisted.


April, 14th,   1893. S.S. Rowan . . . . . . . . . . 17


Nov,  18th,   1993. S.S. Garnet . . . . . . . . . . . 7


Nov. 18th, 1883. Crew of brigantine “Harriet,” was rescued by the Rocket Brigade and Volunteers. The vessel became a total wreck, part of which is still on the beach.


The Bell Buoy, with compressed gas burning night and day, was lifted from its anchorage on the East Scar rocks, in the storm commencing on the 18th day of November last, and another was re-fixed in the same place, on the 30th December, 1893.


On the 23rd of May last there arrived a new carriage for the Redcar Lifeboat Brothers. On the following day, the old one was despatched elsewhere, and the new comer tested, along with the lifeboat. The last invention consists of four wheels, the two larger being six feet high, which are surrounded with seven jointed sand clams of iron, 14 inches wide, or double the width of the wood wheels below the sand plates. The two small wheels are 47 inches high, without clams, and 6 inches wide on the rims. Although the clams create a loud noise in turning round the large wheels, practical men declare in favour of the method, as being much easier to convey the life boat over the sand, even to the edge of the water.


The money collected by the citizens of Glasgow, at their Lifeboat Demonstration last year, inclusive of benefactions (£3,500), has been spent upon an hydraulic steam lifeboat, and was exhibited on Saturday last at Glasgow, with great favour. The procession and enthusiasm of immense crowds exceeded former occasions. Encouraged by the success which attended the Lifeboat Saturday Demonstration in Bradford last year, it has been decided to have one annually. At a meeting of those interested in the movement held on Friday, the date fixed for this summer was August 25th.


dean July 10, 2011 Lifeboat