Thursday, March 04, 2010

On This Day...

In 1824, the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck was founded at a meeting in The Tavern Inn, Bishopsgate Street, London. Sir William Hillary, had at first struggled to get his plans for a lifeboat service accepted, but with the help of some influential friends he got the Admiralty to accept his idea.

Hillary was a strange character, he squandered his rich wife's fortune on a private army, reputed to be Britain's largest, to help in the wars against Napoleon. He spent much of his life in debt and it is said that after he died his body was exhumed and sold to dissectors by his creditors. He was a brave man though, and at the age of 60 he helped to man a lifeboat when the ship St. George foundered close to Douglas Harbour, Isle of Man, he was washed overboard during the rescue but survived along with the whole crew of the wrecked ship.

The photograph is of the boat shed doors at Burnham-on-Sea, you can read a history of their lifeboat here.

The RNLI is still a voluntary organisation, funded by charitable donations

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