The Hoylake lifeboat station is one of the oldest on the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland and was established in 1803 by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board and was taken over by the Institution in 1894.
The Institution has no record of the work of this station or the Hilbre Island station before taking them over in 1894. It is known however, that a terrible storm swept up the west coast on December 29th 1810 and at its height the ship Traveller was driven onto the Hoyle Bank. The Hoylake lifeboat was quickly brought out of her boathouse and despite the enormous waves that were pounding onto the beach, she was safely launched. As the lifeboat rowed out towards the stranded vessel an enormous wave struck and capsized her, drowning eight of her crew. Their names were H Bird, H Bird, J Bird, J Bird, J Hughes, R Hughes T Hughes and one crewman whose name is not known. The lifeboat was driven ashore almost undamaged ad within a few weeks a new crew had been formed with Capt Bennett continuing as Coxswain. According to a list supplied by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, the Hilbre Island and Hoylake lifeboats rescued 459 lives between 1840 and 1894. The Board had no record of their rescues before 1840.
Hoylake’s first lifeboat was built in 1803 by Henry Greathead.
Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain G Davies for his general good service extending over a long period.
Station taken over from the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board.
New lifeboat carriage and a set of horse launching poles sent to station. It was thought that this would remove the difficulty of launching on a flat beach. The sum of £25 10 0d and £39 granted as compensation for injury to two horses when lifeboat was exercised.
New lifeboat house constructed with committee room and flat roof and tower at a cost of over £1,000. Old site handed over to Hoylake UDC in order that the Esplanade could be continued in a straight line.
Horse injured when launching lifeboat. Paid £15 compensation.
Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Thomas Dodd for a service to the barque Matador of Riga that ran ashore off Blundall Sands in one of the worst storms for many years on 16 and 17 October 1902. The New Brighton lifeboat had arrived on scene and had made several unsuccessful attempts to rescue the crew, until finally despite violent seas Coxswain Dodd got alongside and rescued the nine crewmen who were then landed at New Brighton. The Imperial Russian Association for Life-saving on Waters awarded the crew of the lifeboat First Class Certificates of Merit for this service.
When lifeboat was out on service on 15 November, John I Roberts, aged 23, was washed out and drowned. Institution contributed £100 to local fund.
Electric light and water services provided at station.
Committee of Management voted £10 to widow of James Hughes, a member of the crew who drowned whilst following his occupation as a fisherman.
One of the horses, after galloping to the lifeboat house when required for service fell down dead; compensation was paid.
Acetylene Search Light supplied.
Horse launching poles supplied.
Increase in the payment for horses from 15/- to 30/- for exercises and from 20/- to 40/- for services.
Tractor sent to station. A successful surprise night exercise held and boat was launched in 20 minutes from firing rocket.
A Centenary Vellum awarded to station.
Bronze Medals were awarded to Coxswain Herbert Jones, boatman Benjamin Armitage, late coxswain, and coastguard officer William Widdup who rescued, using a rowing boat, the two occupants of a dinghy out of control on a lee shore, in a strong westerly wind with a rough sea on 6 February 1943. The coxswain considered that the use of the lifeboat was inadvisable considering the time required to assemble the crew and launch and the position of the boat.
A 150th Anniversary Vellum awarded to station.
Coxswain Jack Bird lost his fishing boats in gales during the latter part of 1955. As he was not insured a local fund was set up to purchase a boat for him. Approximately £600 was raised out of which £300 was used in the purchase of ON782 (ex-Gourdon lifeboat) that was sold by the Institution minus engines and gear box. Subsequently a second-hand engine was also purchased by the fund.
Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Harold Triggs for the rescue of two men from the tug Diane that sunk off West Hoyle Bank in a strong west-north-westerly wind and very heavy sea on 27 August 1971. On reaching the position nothing could be seen of the Diane but the top of her wheelhouse down to the grab rails to which two men were clinging desperately. Coxswain Triggs took the lifeboat through the shallow water, across the bank, and came up to the wreck where the first survivor was brought safely on board, the second man would not let go of the rail, but on a second run he was snatched from his position by two members of the crew. Although holed and flooded the lifeboat returned to Hilbre and landed the two men.
Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Thomas Henry Harry Jones and the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Second Coxswain John McDermott and crew member David Dodd for the service on 20 September 1979, when the Will and Fanny Kirby lifeboat, on temporary duty at Hoylake, saved the catamaran Truganini and her exhausted crew of three in a westerly storm and a very rough sea.
The new station Mersey class lifeboat ON1163 Lady of Hilbre was placed on service October 1990. This lifeboat was funded by the generous gifts to the Mersey Lifeboat Appeal particularly the bequest of Barbara D Dixon. Lifeboat ON1000 Mary Gabriel has been withdrawn.
His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, President of the RNLI, named Hoylake’s new Mersey class lifeboat at the Liverpool Marina, Coburg Dock on 12 November. The cost of the lifeboat Lady of Hilbre, was met from an appeal run on Merseyside in 1989/90 and a substantial legacy.
The Trustee Meeting held on 27 November decided that Hoylake Lifeboat Station be awarded a Vellum to commemorate the completion of 200 years service in 2003.
New FCB boathouse and slipway completed in December at a cost of £2.300,000.
The new station Shannon class lifeboat ON1313 Edmund Hawthorne Micklewood was placed on service 09 December 2014. This lifeboat was funded by the legacy of Miss Paulette Micklewood in memory of her father together with other donations. Lifeboat ON1163 Lady of Hilbre has been withdrawn.
Seven Medals have been awarded, two Silver and five Bronze, the last being voted in 1980.