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Lytham St Annes' station history

The name was changed due to the amalgamation of the two RNLI branches Lytham and St Annes.  St Annes Station had already closed in 1925 and the two towns had amalgamated to form Lytham St Annes in 1922.



The name of the first lifeboat was The Clifton (1851-1855) and was supplied by the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners' Society and local subscriptions in 1851.


Lifeboat capsized on exercise, eight crew drowned, they were: William Swann, John Davies, George Cookson, John Gillett, Thomas Gillett, Thomas Hardman, John Whiteside and James Winders, two people were saved leaving eight widows and 28 children The Clifton continued in service until 1855 before being replaced. An appeal for the dependants raised £1,060.


Station was taken over by the RNLI.


The Station’s 2nd lifeboat Eleanor Cecily arrived in 1855 until replaced in 1863.


New boathouse built adjacent to the Windmill (now lifeboat museum).

New lifeboat, the Wakefield placed on station. 


Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain James Candlish, in testimony of his general gallant services in assisting to save life from wrecks.


Whilst helping to load the old Lytham lifeboat, John Parkinson injured his hand and developed typhoid fever and died. Committee of Management voted £100 to his dependants.

The chief event in the history of the stations was the disaster in 1886 when the Lytham, St Annes and Southport lifeboats went out to the barque Mexico. On the night of 9 December the barque Mexico of Hamburg was in distress south west of Lytham and burned signals of distress. The barque was on her beam ends, her fore and main masts gone, and her 12 man crew lashed in the mizzen rigging.

The Lytham lifeboat was launched at 2205 in a west-north-westerly gale with a very heavy sea. The boat was filled with water four or five times and, after the oars had been got out, a heavy breaking sea struck her heeling the boat over with her gunwale under water, the sudden lurch broke three of the oars. Subsequently she managed to run alongside the Mexico and rescued the crew of 12.  Coxswain Thomas Clarkson was awarded the Silver Medal for this service.

The St Annes lifeboat was launched at 2225 and proceeded under sail. What happened to her was never known but she drifted ashore, capsized in the shoal water, and was found next morning bottom up on the beach. The whole crew of 13 was drowned, they were J Bonney, T Bonney, J Dobson, R Fisher, J Harrison, O Hodson, J Johnson, W Johnson, N Parkinson, T Parkinson, C Tims, R Tims and J Wignall.

The Southport lifeboat was transported about 3 miles along the beach after the signals had been seen and was launched westward of the wreck. At about 0100 she got near the vessel and was about to let go her anchor, when a heavy breaking sea struck her and she was capsized.  She was found on the beach next morning. Out of the crew of 16, 14 drowned. The names of the men were J Ball, C Hodge, H Hodge, P Jackson, T Jackson, B Peters, R Peters, H Rigby, T Rigby, T Rigby, J Robinson, R Robinson, T Spencer and P Wright..

Committee of Management voted £2,000 to local fund that was raised for the dependants, contributions also being received from HM Queen Victoria and the Emperor of Germany. The fund eventually reached a figure of nearly £31,000. The last beneficiary in St Annes, Sarah Timms, died in 1934 and the balance of the fund, £9,487, was paid over to the Institution.

The disaster led directly to the foundation by Sir Charles Macara of the Lifeboat Saturday Fund. The Fund continued for some 20 years raising thousands of pounds and in 1910 the organisation of the Fund was taken over by the Institution.


Silver Medal awarded to all three stations by Societe des Sauveteurs Medailles du Gouvernement de la Gironde for courage and devotion to duty.


Station renamed Lytham St Annes on 12 March (for further details see below)



A lifeboat was stationed at St Annes on the sea. Boathouse constructed by Messrs Moore Bros at a cost of £368.10.0d. Roadway £90 and a slipway £178. 


On the night of 9 December the barque Mexico of Hamburg was in distress south west of Lytham and burned signals of distress - see Lytham, for details.


Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Thomas Rimmer, in recognition of long and gallant service in saving life from shipwreck particularly on the occasion of the rescue of the crew of the barque Albert William of Liverpool on 26 January 1888.


From 1888-1910 there were two lifeboats at St Annes (number one in the boathouse and number two moored off the pier).


Eastbank Road, outside the St Annes Lifeboat house, made up by the council at a cost of £60. Lifeboat house to Eastbank Road gangway removed, in-filled and stone setts laid at a cost of £71.6.8d.  A macadam road constructed at St Annes between the promenade, pier and lifeboat silpway, the Institution contributed £125. A swing gangway, to facilitate boarding the boarding boat attached to St Annes pier jetty for boarding the number two boat, built at a cost of £125. All work completed July 1895.


Committee of Management voted £75 to local fund at St Annes to dependants of Coxswain Isaac Dobson and Bowman John William Harrison, of the reserve crew, who were drowned when Dobson’s fishing smack Little Nellie (PN 36) capsized off St Annes in a sudden north westerly gale on 18 January. Total sum raised was £1,300.


Signalman William Yates knocked down by carriage. He was crushed across the back and chest. An allowance was paid to him.


Whilst on exercise a fragment of the sound signal struck a child named Barratt on the head.


On closure of St Annes station, Lytham assumed responsibility for the area.



The name was changed due to the amalgamation of the two RNLI branches Lytham and St Annes. St Annes Station had already closed in 1925 and the two towns had amalgamated to form Lytham St Annes in 1922.

First motor lifeboat JHW moored off Lytham Pier.




Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain J Parkinson and the Bronze Medal to Motor Mechanic G Harrison for the service on 26 November 1939 to the Pilot Boat Charles Livingstone that ran aground between Southport and Formby. Medals were also awarded to the Blackpool coxswain and motor mechanic. Rhyl, Hoylake and New Brighton lifeboats also took part in this service.


Committee of Management made a grant to the widow of Second Coxswain M Clarkson, who lost his life in a fishing boat. Clarkson was the fourth generation of lifeboatmen. His father had been second coxswain and his grandfather and great grandfather were both coxswains of Lytham lifeboat.


Centenary Vellum awarded.


Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Joseph Parkinson for the rescue of five men from the yacht Penboch anchored one mile north of Southport pier on Great Brow Bank in a strong westerly wind on 3 July 1955. Coxswain Parkinson made three unsuccessful attempts to close the yacht. Then the mast carried away and an anchor parted in the deteriorating weather the lifeboat anchored and veered down enabling five men to jump to safety.


As a reminder of the above rescue the skipper and part owner of the Penboch gave the lifeboat station the flag of the Royal Northumbrian Yacht Club which flew from the mast of the stricken vessel.


Station moved to new site adjacent to Fisherman’s Jetty.


Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain H Parkinson and the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Mechanic G Harrison for their part in the rescue of the yacht Lone Seeker and her crew from where she lay aground on Salter’s Bank in a south westerly gale on 21 July 1962.


D class lifeboat sent to station in April.


The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded to Coxswain Harold Parkinson and Mr Kenneth Smith for going to the help of the yacht Jacaranda. Coxswain Parkinson and Mr Smith launched an Avon rubber dinghy from the yacht Codge which was returning to the harbour and saved the Jacaranda which was aground and rescued her crew of two on 24 August.


BEM awarded to Mechanic George Harrison in Her Majesty’s New Years Honours List. He has held that post since 1939.


New D class lifeboat D251 placed on service.


Bronze Medals awarded to Coxswain Arthur Wignall and Assistant Mechanic Brian Pearson for the courage and determination displayed by them when the lifeboat rescued the sole occupant of the yacht Morag in a south west by westerly gale and a very rough sea on 6 June 1981. The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum were accorded to crew member Robert Kennedy.


Boathouse extended in order to provide a look-out and additional crew facilities.


Original lifeboat-house opened as Lytham Lifeboat Museum to commemorate Mexico disaster 100 years ago.


First Tyne class lifeboat sent for trials and new D class lifeboat D360 placed on service.


Station allocated own Tyne class Sarah Emily Harrop named at Preston Dock on 29 April 1990.


Framed Letters of Thanks signed by the Chairman, Mr Michael Vernon, were presented to Helmsman Gary Miller and crew members Russell Wignall and Martin Jaggs for the service on 6 June when the D class lifeboat rescued the three crew of the yacht Gean which sank near the entrance to the main channel of the River Ribble.  

The three survivors were located by the lifeboat clinging to the sides of a small dinghy which had capsized in the confused six foot seas after they had abandoned the yacht.


New D class lifeboat D509 placed on service on 3 October.


Trials using Mersey class carriage launched boat off St Annes. Trials successful so boat placed in temporary compound at St Annes.

Mersey class lifeboat ON1189 Her Majesty The Queen, became station lifeboat on 16 December 1999.


Re-dedication of lifeboat at St Annes. Plus announcement for building a new station at St Annes, Completion due in 2003. D class to remain at Lytham.


To celebrate 150 years of service the station was awarded the Gratitude of the Institution inscribed on Vellum.


A new Mersey boathouse completed in April at a cost of £1.639,013.


A special framed certificate signed by Surgeon Rear Admiral F Golden and the Chief Executive presented to Second Mechanic Gary Bird in recognition of the first aid rendered to a seriously injured fisherman in the confined cabin space of a Belgian trawler in rough conditions on 1 February 2005. Gary had been put aboard the trawler from a relief lifeboat on passage to Lytham, crewed by Lytham personnel. 


A new IB1 class lifeboat D657 Sally was placed on service at Lytham St Annes on 18 April. Lifeboat D509 John Kennedy has been withdrawn.


New D class lifeboat D800 MOAM placed on service.


Nine Medals have been awarded, four Silver and five Bronze, the last voted in 1981.