The brief history of Newbiggin and it's very first Lifeboat Station (below), is taken from Mr. John Robinson's booklet "The Story of Newbiggin-By-The-Sea Lifeboat Station - Established 1851." My sincere thanks to John for his permission to use the extract.
Notable churchmen in the 1770's appreciated the need
for a life saving service on the Northumberland coast. Their
opinion that a fishing coble, altered to achieve unimmergible qualities,
was welcomed by local inshore fishermen. At Newbiggin-by-the-sea,
the preferred coble, expertly handled by men with skills passed from
father to son, was used for life-saving until 1851.
The Provision Of The Lifeboat Station.
The Duke's gift was greatly appreciated at Newbiggin, for on the 18th March 1851, the village experienced a second major fishing disaster with the loss of ten fishermen. Five colleagues valiantly attempted to save four crews of capsized cobles. They manned a coble used for that purpose and managed to save two men. It was realised that more oarsmen than a five-man coble could accommodate, would have enabled recovery of other survivors just out of reach of the rescue vessel. One of those 'new lifeboats' with ten oars was needed; hence, in 1851 local action was successful in efforts to establish a lifeboat station and the five rescuing fishermen, John Dent, Henry Brown, Philip Jefferson, William and Robert Armstrong were awarded The Institutions Silver Medal.
An improved PEAKE design became our second lifeboat in 1860. The Duke of Northumberland donated this boat retaining the name 'LATIMER'. This 13' 6" long by 8' 0" wide lifeboat, was powered by 6 oars single banked, or 12 Oars double banked and served between 1860 and 1866 saving 73 lives.
John's booklet goes into some detail of some of the rescues and lists all the ten other lifeboats Newbiggin Station has had to date (2002), together rescues and lives saved It makes excellent reading - copies of the booklet can be obtained from the Newbiggin Lifeboat Station (email firstname.lastname@example.org ) priced £1.50 including post & package.
There is another book, (again recommended reading), which records all the rescues conducted by Newbiggin Lifeboat Station from 1851 to present day (2001). The author, Richard Martin, has researched thoroughly all the rescues in his 112 page book, entitled "Newbiggin-By-The-Sea Lifeboat Station - Established 1951 The First 150 Years" are documented with dates and source of information (where possible) along with pictures of the Newbiggin lifeboats and some of the rescues.
Again, contact Richard for a copy, priced at £6.00 + £1.50 post & package - well worth it, packed with 112 pages of information!
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