top of page
Lifeboat poster.jpeg
"Lifeboat" Exhibition 

28th May - 29th June

This exhibition marks 200 years since the founding of RNLI. The RNLI have organised their own series of events, but we would like to mark the occasion from our own perspective as artists who live and work near the coast.

Seaham had its own lifeboat disaster in November 1962. The lifeboat involved in that disaster is housed in the old lifeboat house and heritage centre on Seaham Marina and is available to visit.

The Seaham Disaster

At 4:10p.m. on Saturday the 17th. November 1962, the Seaham lifeboat, George Elmy, was activated to search for the missing fishing coble.

 

Within minutes of receiving the alert, George Elmy and her crew of five, disappeared down the slipway into the darkness, never to return.

 

The lifeboat had put to sea in appalling weather conditions but at about 4:30 p.m. they pulled alongside the coble and miraculously rescued four men and a nine year old boy. The lifeboat and it's courageous crew battled against mountainous seas in an attempt to get back to the safety of the port, but at 5:20 p.m., just yards from the harbour entrance, she was struck by a gigantic wave and capsized with the loss of her entire crew and all but one of the people they had rescued from the coble.

 

After the capsize, the lifeboat was washed up on the Chemical beach with one survivor who had been clinging to the upturned boat but there was no other signs of life.

Source : http://eastdurham-and-coastal-heritage.co.uk/george%20elmy%20lifeboat.htm

The George Elmy 
AirBrush_20240519204536.jpg

Little is known about The George Elmy after that fateful day and the people of Seaham were unaware that she underwent extensive repairs and returned to service with the RNLI., first with the reserve fleet before moving on to Poole in Dorset where she served with distinction until her decommissioning in 1972. The George Elmy then slipped into quiet obscurity. She re-emerged in April 2009 when she was spotted for sale on ebay

Source, and more information about the restoration  of the George Elmy can be found at ...​ http://www.eastdurhamheritagegroup.co.uk/12.html

Following the tragic events of the previous day, efforts were made to right the lifeboat and the full extent of the damage began to emerge. She had been ravaged by the relentless storm and had suffered extensive damage from stem to stern.

On the 15th of May 2009 she arrived in Seaham and the first step on what proved to be a four year journey to restoration had been taken.

Launch Day, 14th March 2013
After four long years of fundraising, planning and painstaking restoration, the now pristine George Elmy is carefully lowered down the slipway into the waters of the river Tyne before sailing up river to Royal quays Marina where she would remain until arrangements were finalised for her homecoming and final resting place in a purpose built home in Seaham Harbour.

Source, and more information about the restoration  of the George Elmy can be found at ...​ http://www.eastdurhamheritagegroup.co.uk/12.html

IMG-20240510-WA0014.jpg
A selection of our Artists submissions for the exhibition
First Response
Jean Spence
Rescue
Roger Gadd
Just Another Day
Lavinia Humphries
Saving the ship of dreams
Jean Spence
Please Support Our Volunteer Crew
Liz Lees
When somebody is drowning
Jean Spence

Seaham Lifeboat Memorial 

(Source: Wikipedia)

A RNLI commemorative scroll can be found via their website, click on the image above to find out more..

To find out more about how the RNLI and how you can donate please visit their website at  https://rnli.org/

For more information including images, movies and the restoration of the George Elmy please visit the website of the East Durham Heritage & Lifeboat Centre

http://www.eastdurhamheritagegroup.co.uk/

bottom of page