Lifeboat disaster at the mouth of the Mersey antique print. Original top half of a page from the Illustrated London News dated January 28th. 1865, reporting “Upsetting of the Liverpool Lifeboat on her way to Rescue the Crew of the Lelia.” PS Lelia was a steamship built during the American Civil War for use as a blockade runner for the Confederate States of America. She sank in Liverpool Bay in 1865 in an incident that caused 46 fatalities. Liverpool No 1 Lifeboat was itself swamped by waves, with the loss of seven out of its 11 crew.
The text below was published as a ‘blog’ on www.inyourarea.com in 2019.
On this day 4th. March in 1824 the Royal National Lifeboat Institution was founded as the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck. The National Institution was granted a Royal Charter in 1860 and became the RNLI. A charity operating in the waters off the coast of the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic, its Patron is Queen Elizabeth II. The RNLI is funded by legacies and donations. Most RNLI crew members are unpaid volunteers. The RNLI has 237 lifeboat stations mostly dotted around the coastline from which 444 lifeboats operate. Whilst in the public psych an image of lifeboats operating in raging seas rescuing ships in distress is conjured up, the Tower Lifeboat Station on the River Thames in London is, in fact, the RNLI’s busiest station. Opened in 2002, at Tower Pier, its establishment was a direct response to the collision between the pleasure cruiser ‘Marchioness’ and the dredger ‘Bowbelle’, which cost the loss of 51 lives in 1989. In 2006 the Tower Pier lifeboat station relocated to the former Waterloo Police Pier but retained its founding name. As well as operating boats at sea and on rivers, the RNLI provide Lifeguards on more than 200 beaches. Over 800 children weekly receive training from the RNLI whilst more than 6,000 children are spoken to by education volunteers about sea and beach safety. The Institution also operates Flood Rescue Teams (FRT) nationally and internationally (iFRT) responding to flood disasters at short notice. Since its foundation on this day in 1824 the Institution has saved some 140,000 lives, at a cost of more than 600 lives lost by RNLI volunteers. The Institution has an annual fundraising day (“SOS Day”) at the end of January where, in line with its tradition, volunteers give of their time to support their work. Spending over £400,000 per day the RNLI’s need for funds is always an important consideration if their work is to continue. You can find out more about the R.N.L.I by following this link https://rnli.org/