THE SUNDERLAND SITE - PAGE 196
SOME EARLY LIFE-BOAT IMAGES,
MAINLY POSTCARD IMAGES
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Corrections in any of the material which follows, however tiny, would be most welcome.
This page was started with a single image, which caught my eye due to both its interesting subject matter & its unusual beauty. An engraving which was published, in France, in the Apl. 8, 1865 edition of 'Le Monde Illustré'.
The engraving relates to the inauguration of a life-boat service at Fleetwood, Lancashire, U.K. An article about such life-boat service was printed on the rear of the page (#220, shown at left) on which the engraving appeared & which page also included an article about a M. Thuillier. Thanks to the kindness of Allan Ryan, we can now provide the text of that article (below, under the print).
The webmaster is alway delighted when a site visitor sees material on the site, and adds related data that he or she has available. In this case, the text that was printed on the rear of the 'Le Monde Illustré' 1865 page which contained the above fine image.
Allan Ryan was in touch (thanks so much, Allan!) via the guestbook on Jan. 24, 2022. He has since, with his extensive knowedge of Fleetwood history, provided an interesting commentary on the content of the above engraving, whose artist clearly took some 'liberties' (artistic licence) in its creation:-
The above 'inauguration' image appears to represent Fleetwood’s second lifeboat the Edward Wasey, (1862-1880), which was equipped with ten oars (though the article mentions a crew of 12 rowers plus captain/helmsman). Fleetwood’s first lifeboat (1859-1862) was unnamed & only had six oars. The image also appears to show the French & U.S.A. flags flying behind the Ensign. The pub sign in the left background reads 'The Crown and Garter' & 'Pale Ale'. Now there was a three-story 'Crown Hotel' (now the 'Pennine View') on Dock Street, Fleetwood, but the style/orientation doesn’t match the image. The other possibility is 'The Victoria' also on Dock Street & closer to where the lifeboat would have been stationed. The 'Victoria' was Fleetwood’s oldest pub before being converted to flats but I haven’t been able to confirm whether it had a name change at some point in its early history.
I have posted the image on the 'Fleetwood Past' Facebook page, but have not yet received any further clues.
The curious structure to the right of the pub sign resembles the Rossall Landmark, a navigational aid originally erected at Rossall Point in 1766 and replaced in 1847 with a structure similar to that in the image. It was subsequently removed in 1929 (wooden stumps are still visible today). Note that Rossall Point is over 2 km from where the lifeboat would have been stationed.
Allan's guestbook message is as follows:- Hi, I have an original copy of the Fleetwood life-boat inauguration engraving. As you mention on page 196 there is a description on the reverse of the newspaper page. The article (translated of course) reads as follows (the joint effort now of both Allan Ryan & the webmaster):-
The attached engraving illustrates the inauguration of a life-boat at Fleetwood, a seaport in the county of Lancashire, on the west coast of England. These boats, present in all the English seaports, continually render great services to humanity by saving shipwrecked sailors from death on the dangerous coasts of the English Channel, the St. George's Channel and the surrounding seas.
These boats are most often financed by annual subscriptions and private donations collected by life-boat societies. They are painted white and blue, of a rather elegant cut and are so constructed that they cannot sink, even when they are partly under the waves. We have seen some disappear completely under foam and water, yet rise to the surface after a few moments. The only danger they run, and this danger is unfortunately very great, is of being thrown onto reefs or rocks or smashed against the hulls of the vessels in distress that they approach.
A lifeboat's crew consists of twelve rowers and a captain or helmsman, and is recruited among the most courageous and strong fishermen and pilots of the particular port. Nothing can equal the heroism of these brave folks who, for little remuneration, constantly risk their lives to save the lives of others; for, despite the strength of their boats, accidents are numerous. Only a short time ago a lifeboat, which had gone to the aid of a sinking vessel, lost part of its crew who, foreseeing an inevitable collision, jumped into the vessel's rigging and perished with those they had come to save.
Each rower, as soon as the signal is given, puts on his cork belt and attaches himself firmly by a ring to his bench, to ensure that he is not soon washed overboard by the force of the waves. Several horses pull the boat to the shore where it is launched into the waves from the top of a large wheeled wagon especially designed for this purpose. It is then that each crew member becomes a hero. Teeth clenched, muscles tense, he battles the waves which seem to want to throw the lifeboat back onto the shore. It is a moment of great anxiety; finally the lifeboat reaches the open sea, & only intermittently then do we see the boat and its helmsman, as they battle the monstrous waves. Eventually, after a period full of anxiety for the families of these brave fishermen, the life-boat returns loaded with poor devils that previously had been waiting for death, and disembarks them to the acclaim of the cheering spectators gathered on the fore shore.
Our engraving shows the inauguration of the life-boat & its accompanying local volunteers. In the boat you can see the crew dressed in their typical outfits.
Site visitors may well wish to read the original French text as it was published back in 1865. Allan has kindly provided a scan of such French text, & such text is now available, recast by the webmaster into two columns for easy reading. Also, the webmaster has 'best efforts' transcribed that text for French readers - here - lower on this page.
This would seem to be a good spot to present for your viewng pleasure, this fine engraving of an early life-boat crew of date & place unknown - the print is available here via e-Bay as this page is updated. The print is described by the eBay vendor as being of double folio size, measuring approximately 21.5 x 15.75 inches (54.5 x 40 cm).
ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY, U.S.A.
The following image would seem to have been used in many U.S. cities. It may well be of the lifeboat at Rockaway Beach, Long Island, New York.
Images additional to that which started this page off. At the top of this page - here.
LE HAVRE, FRANCE
On Nov. 2, 1861, a massive storm, likely a hurricane, hit the north east of England. One of the casualties of the storm was Coupland, a North Shields schooner manned by a 6 man crew, en route from Aberdeen, Scotland, to London, with a cargo of granite blocks. Coupland tried to enter the port of Scarborough, but was driven onto jagged rocks bear the Spa, & ended up a total wreck. Fortunately its crew were all rescued from the raging seas by rocket apparatus.
Now in 1861 the Royal National Lifeboat Institution ('RNLI') had taken over the Scarborough life-boat station. And five weeks prior to Nov. 2, 1861, the life-boat station had taken delivery of its first RNLI lifeboat, the 32 ft. long, ten-oared, self-righting Amelia. On its maiden voyage no less, Amelia went to the rescue of the Coupland crew, with disastrous results. Amelia, the rescuer, was dashed against the sea wall, ended up destroyed & two of its crew members were killed. That was not all. Bystanders tried to help rescue the remaining lifeboat's crew members & in so doing three of them lost their lives also - Lord Charles Beauclerk, William Tindall & John Iles.
The scene was painted by a number of artists, including the postcard image first below of a painting by prolific artist Elmer Keene (another Elmer Keene lifeboat related postcard). And the second image below of a work, I believe by Alfred M. Willis. Eight Board of Trade Medals for Gallantry in Saving Life at Sea were awarded re these total events, while the RNLI awarded six of its medals & made monetary grants.
So far I have not spotted any references to where Coupland was built, how big it was, who owned it or who captained it.
There are a great many WWW sites which tell the story & show the paintings. I particularly commend this succinct page by Dix Noonan Webb Ltd. ('DNW'), auctioneers, of Mayfair Street, London - re the sale of the silver Sea Gallantry Medal that posthumously was awarded back in 1861 to Mr. William Tindall.
The first image below is courtesy of the Science Museum. A 1:16 model of the Lowestoft clinker built life-boat designed by William Teasdel (1845-1855). Click the image to go to their webpage.
EGMOND AAN ZEE, THE NETHERLANDS - North Sea coast, NW of Amsterdam
NEW YORK, U.S.A.
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To Thomas M. M. Hemy Data Page 41. All of the other Thomas Hemy pages, including image pages, are accessible though the index on Thomas Hemy page 05. [ ] £ à è ç é ö ć ü ù È É ê ê ê ô î ï
To the Special Pages Index.
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Le croquis ci-joint reproduit l'inauguration d'un life-boat ou chaloupe de sauvetage à Fleetwood, port de mer dans le comté du Lancashire, côte ouest de l'Angleterre. Ces bateaux, répandus dans tous les ports de mer anglais, rendent continuellement de grands services à l'humanité en arrachant à la mort les marins naufragés sur les côtes si dangereuses de la Manche, du détroit de Saint-George et des mers environnantes.
Ces chaloupes sont le plus souvent le produit de souscriptions annuelles et de donations particulières recueillies par la life-boat society. Elles sont peintes blanc et bleu, d'une coupe assez élégante et, par suite d'une construction particulière, ne peuvent pas sembrer, même lorsqu'elles sont en partie sous les vagues. On en a vu disparaître complétement sous l'écume et l'eau, et cependant remonter à la surface au bout de quelques instants. Le seul danger qu'elles courent, et ce danger est malheureusement très-grand, est d'être brisées ou sur les récifs à fleur d'eau ou contre les vaisseaux en détresse qu'elles abordent.
L'équipage se compose de deuze rameurs et d'un capitaine ou timonnier, et se recrute parmi les pêcheurs et les pilotes les plus courageux et robustes de l'endroit. Rien ne peut égaler l'heroïsme de ces pauvres gens qui, pour une faible rémunération, hasardent sans sesse leur vie pour sauver celle des autres ; car, malgré la solidité de leur chaloupe les accidents sont nombreux. Il n'y a que peu de temps qu'un bateau de sauvetage, qui était allé au secours des marins d'un vaisseau qui sombrait, perdit une partie de ses hommes qui, prévoyant un choc inévitable, sautèrent dans les cordages et périrent avec ceux qu'ils étaient venus sauver.
Chaque rameur, aussitôt que le signal est donné, revêt sa ceinture de liége et s'attache fermement par un anneau à son banc, précaution nécessaire pour ne pas être enlevé par les lames qui souvent recouvrent l'embarcation. Plusieurs chevaux tirent la barque jusqu'au rivage où on la lance au milieu des vagues du haut d'un camion à grandes roues construit pour cet usage. C'est alors que le pêcheur deviant un héros. Les dents serrées, les muscles tendus, il lutte pour ainsi dire corps à corps avec les lames qui tendent à rejeter la chaloupe sur le rivage. C'est un moment d'anxieté terrible ; enfin, on réussit à gagner le large, on n'aperçoit plus que de temps en temps le bateau et le timonnier, cramponné à la barre paraissant sur la créte des vagues monstrueuses. Après un temps quelquefois très-long et plain d'anxiété pour les familles de ces braves pêcheurs, le life-boat revient chargé de pauvres diables à moitié moris de froid et qui n'attendaient plus que le trépas, et les débarquent aux acclamations unanimes des spectateurs réunis sur le rivage.
Notre dessin représente l'inauguration d'un life-boat qui est accompagné par les voluntaires de l'endroit. Dans le bateau on peut voir l'équipage revétu du costume d'usage.