Historical pictures of the fourth emergency service

1937
How it all began
Sarah Ann Austin after being christened by Duke of Kent, Blackpool lifeboat
1937 How it all began Sarah Ann Austin after being christened by Duke of Kent, Blackpool lifeboat
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Recent BBC One TV series Saving Lives At Sea featured the vital work of the RNLI in Blackpool.

This week Memory Lane takes a look back at pictures throughout the years, of the dedicated volunteers, who act as the resort’s fourth emergency service.

June 1937
New motor lifeboat touches beach

June 1937 New motor lifeboat touches beach

The RNLI lifeboat station in Blackpool opened in 1864, at a cost of £170.

In the early days, lifeboats cost under £400 – these days, the current boat Atlantic 85 William & Eleanor cost £214,000.

In the first 100 years, Blackpool’s RNLI volunteers had an average of just two service calls per year. Now volunteers launch the boat an average 64 times each year.

During Blackpool RNLI’s 152 years of saving lives at sea, the charity’s volunteers have been awarded six medals for gallantry – three silver and three bronze.

The most recent medals were awarded to Keith Horrocks and Phil Denham, in 1988.

In its 152-year history, the charity’s lifeboats in Blackpool have launched on 1,898 occasions and have rescued 625 people.

As the photos show, in April 1982, lifeboatmen patrolling of Blackpool beach during a parachute jump had to be rescued when a freak wave overturned their inflatable boat. The crew – Peter Canhan, Geoff Hall and Stuart Cottam – was rescued by colleagues Keith Horrocks, Philip Denham and Roy Bishop, who were also on patrol.

When the boat overturned, the three men managed to swim to North Pier. They clung on to stanchions until help arrived.

Another picture shows the christening of the lifeboat Sarah Ann Austin, by the Duke Of Kent, in 1937.

An inspection of the Blackpool lifeboat in April 1970 is shown in one photo. Pictured are Lt Cdr PFB Rowe (area inspector), centre, with Mr HR Parr (mechanic) left and Mr J Stanhope (cox).

The changing look of the lifeboats can be seen over the years and the changing look, of course, of the crew members and their uniforms.

17.2.54
Bickerstaffe funeral. After the urn was placed in the lifeboat outside the Tower and before the boat was launched for the last voyage Rev FB freshwater offered prayers while the crowd remained bareheaded
Robert Bickerstaffe coxwain 1864 to 1869, 1876 to 1887

17.2.54 Bickerstaffe funeral. After the urn was placed in the lifeboat outside the Tower and before the boat was launched for the last voyage Rev FB freshwater offered prayers while the crowd remained bareheaded Robert Bickerstaffe coxwain 1864 to 1869, 1876 to 1887

Lifeboat inspection 10.04.70
Lt Cdr PFB Rowe (area inspector), centre with Mr HR Parr (mechanic) left and Mr J Stanhope (cox) on board the Blackpool lifeboat during an inspection

Lifeboat inspection 10.04.70 Lt Cdr PFB Rowe (area inspector), centre with Mr HR Parr (mechanic) left and Mr J Stanhope (cox) on board the Blackpool lifeboat during an inspection

26.2.80
The plaque from the early years of Blackpool Lifeboat lifesaving, up to 1936

26.2.80 The plaque from the early years of Blackpool Lifeboat lifesaving, up to 1936

22.1.82
Blackpool lifeboats

22.1.82 Blackpool lifeboats