Minehead lifeboat station was constructed during 1901 at a cost of £785. Our first lifeboat ‘George Leicester’ was on station from 11th December 1901.
The need for a lifeboat station at Minehead became evident following the famous ‘overland launch’ of the Lynmouth lifeboat on 12th January 1899. The fully rigged, three masted ship ‘Forest Hall’ was dragging her anchor in a north westerly gale towards Hurlestone Point (Porlock Bay). Her steering gear had also failed. The ships destruction was almost certain.
The following extract taken from Tom Richards recordings;
“Post Office had a telephone message from Porlock saying that there was a ship in distress, blowing a gale. Maroons set up to call the crew down to the lifeboat house. It was impossible to launch the lifeboat. Dad, Jack Crowcombe and Mr. Peter went back to the PO to decide what to do. Decided to take the lifeboat over to Porlock. People had gathered outside the PO from curiosity; they thought it was foolish to launch from Porlock. A fellow was sent to Lynton for 18 horses, quite an industry up there, and they were tied up to the lifeboat. All the women and kids and men hauled the boat up Countisbury Hill; stopped for refreshments at the Blue Ball Pub at the top of the hill. Women were told to go home and the few men left carried on. Had to break down hedges to get the carriage through. Took 7 foot wide skids with them, pulled the lifeboat over the top of those. Terrible job getting down Porlock Hill. Took part of a woman’s garden wall down; still dark but when she realised it was a lifeboat, she helped them down to Porlock Weir. There they launched the lifeboat. Towed the carriage back to Lynmouth. Went alongside the Forest Hall schooner. Got aboard and helped the crew and landed up in Barry for the night. Sailed back next day; a steamer leaving Barry harbour gave them a tow back to Lynmouth. No lives lost. Uncle Bill Richards was the youngest member, 15 years old. 13 in the crew.”
Since the ‘George Leicester’ Minehead has seen many lifeboats come and go and below is the lifeboat roll of honour.
|George Leicester||Rowing – 12 oars||15||1901 – 1927|
|Hopwood||Rowing – 12 oars||15||1927 – 1931|
|Arthur Lionel||Rowing – 12 oars||15||1931 – 1939|
|Kate Greatorex||2×12 HP Engines||6||1939 – 1951|
|B.H.M.H||2×18 HP engines||7||1951 – 1973|
|D177||Motor Inflatable Inshore||3||1970- 1976|
|D500 Zodiac||Motor Inflatable Inshore||3||1973 – 1979|
|B544 Catherine Plumbley||Atlantic 21||3||1976 – 1994|
|D295||D class Inshore||3||1984 – 1992|
|D420 Leslie D||D class Inshore||3||1992 – 1999|
|D549 George & Christine||D class Inshore||3||1999 – 2009|
|B708 Bessie||Atlantic 75||3||1994 – 2007|
|B824 Richard and Elizabeth Deaves||Atlantic 85||4||2007 – present|
|D712 Christine||D class Inshore (IB1)||3||2009 – 2020|
|D847 Exmoor Belle||D class Inshore (IB1)||3||2020 – present|
Below are some pictures from our archives of some of Minehead’s previous Lifeboats and crews.
Video of the B.H.M.H being launched at Minehead from the film ‘Storm Cone’