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Poole Old Lifeboat Museum

Lifeboats crewed by the people of Poole have been helping those in trouble at sea since 1865. Poole Old Lifeboat Museum documents the history of the RNLI in Poole from that time, right up until the present day. 

Poole Old Museum Front

Photo: RNLI/Nathan Williams

About the museum

The museum is housed in the boathouse where Poole lifeboat station was based from 1882 to 1974 and brings to life the history of lifesaving in the town under one roof. The museum is also home to Thomas Kirk Wright, a Surf class lifeboat, which was operational at the station from 1939 to 1962, and was one of the little ships that took part in the Dunkirk evacuations in 1940.

With an RNLI shop on site, the museum is located at the east end of Poole Quay, adjacent to Fisherman’s Dock. Public car parking is available in the nearby Poole Quay Hotel car park.

Inside shot of Poole Old Museum and old lifeboat

Photo: RNLI/Nathan Williams


See the famous Thomas Kirk Wright lifeboat, a Surf class lifeboat, which was the first of the little ships to arrive at Dunkirk as part of Operation Dynamo. You can even try on crew kit that would have been worn on Thomas Kirk Wright and compare it to the kit worn by modern RNLI crew. 

Poole Old Museum

Photo: RNLI/Nathan Williams


Plenty of visitors have stopped by our museum to take in Poole’s rich history and learn about our lifeboat Thomas Kirk Wright.

Take a look at the shining reviews from our delighted visitors on TripAdvisor, who have described our museum as ‘perfect’, a ‘hidden little gem’ and ‘worth a visit’.

Old Poole Museum sea view

Photo: RNLI/Nathan Williams

Visit us

Museum address

Poole Old Lifeboat Museum and Shop
Fisherman’s Dock
BH15 1HU


01202 666046


Poole Old Lifeboat Museum

Opening Times

Monday - Saturday: 10:30am – 4pm
Sunday: 1pm - 4pm

Opening hours are subject to the weather and volunteer availability. 

The museum will be closed from Saturday 2nd December and reopening on Monday 18th March 2024.



How to find us:

By foot – The museum is located at the east end of Poole Quay, a short walk from the town centre.

By car – There is a public car park close by at Poole Quay Hotel, just a few minutes’ walk from the museum.