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RNLI Heritage

Ramsgate crew

Heritage Vision

RNLI Heritage is defined as the never-ending story of our people. The Heritage Team’s aim is to inspire current and future generations of supporters and lifesavers to enable the RNLI to continue to save lives at sea.

In order to do this we need to:

• Collect objects, archives and pictures

• Preserve them, their implications and their narratives

• Connect with and in so doing, inspire others


The vision for the RNLI Heritage team is to focus all efforts within three distinct areas of activity:

• A network of sites to celebrate our Heritage

• A ‘bank’ of stories and information available for use in inspiring visitors and supporters, provided by a team of proactive and reactive volunteer researchers 

• An archive, library and store that enables the protection and conservation of historic materials in perpetuity but makes then accessible to the public and RNLI people

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​RNLI Headquarters

West Quay Road


BH15 1HZ

Telephone: 0845 122 6999

Visitor parking available

The RNLI Heritage maintains a diverse collection of historic items, including:

  • fine art collection*

  • model lifeboat collection*

  • lifeboat souvenirs and memorabilia

  • RNLI library*

  • RNLI archive: historic documents and selected photographs*

  • historic lifeboats on loan.

*Based in Poole, Dorset, UK.

Researchers are welcome to visit the library and archive, by appointment.

Memorial sculpture and plinth at RNLI headquarters, Poole.

Many brave and selfless lifeboat crew are remembered in their local communities. However, the RNLI Memorial sculpture in Poole, Dorset, UK, is the only place where each and every one of them is named together.

This memorial serves as a source of inspiration for current and future generations of lifeboat crew, lifeguards, supporters and fundraisers. It reminds us that there are still people who volunteer to carry out selfless acts of heroism to help others; and we will always remember their sacrifice.

In most cases, the names listed on the memorial saved the lives of others before losing their own. See the list of names here.

You can add your tribute to the people named on the memorial, and to all the RNLI’s lifesavers, past, present and future.

Beacon of hope

Sam Holland’s sculpture, depicting a person in a boat saving another from the water, symbolises the history and future of the RNLI in its most basic and humanitarian form. Sam intended her design to be bold and simple, incorporating the elements of courage, loss and remembrance. Designed to be a beacon of hope, it honours those who continue to save lives at sea, as well as those lost in the act of lifesaving.

Consultants and contractors involved in making this sculpture:

  • Ellis Belk Associates

  • Greendale Construction Limited

  • Lighting Technology Projects LTD (PAI)

  • Taylor Fuel Control (King Group)

  • LAMEEKAM®Graphics by Studio Lameek

We also wish to thank the following for their kind contributions:

  • Speirs and Major Associates (Lighting Architects)

  • Stewarts Garden Design and Landscaping

  • Borough of Poole