View as PDF

'Francis Forbes Barton' returns to East Kent

Lifeboats News Release

The Francis Forbes Barton is a 1896 Lifeboat built by Rutherfords of Birkenhead and served at Broadstairs from 1897 to 1912 when the station was closed.

The Francis Forbes Barton arriving at Ramsgate

RNLI/Sarah Hewes

Arriving at Ramsgate Harbour 10 February 2017
She then saw service through the Great War at North Deal before being sold out of service in 1926. She is a rare survivor - possibly the second or third oldest surviving lifeboat and has returned 'home' for a full and sympathetic restoration after which it is planned that she will go on public display near her old station in Broadstairs.

The lifeboat was transported by road from Lincolnshire, where she has rested, uncared for over the past seven years, back to a temporary home in Ramsgate Harbour on 10 February thanks to the efforts of a newly formed group of local RNLI enthusiasts, 'The Friends of Francis Forbes Barton'. She is in poor condition but with tender loving care and hopefully the support of national and local funding, she will return to her former glory thus reflecting and remembering the brave crews who manned her all those years ago both at Broadstairs and Deal.

RNLI media contacts
  • John Ray, Volunteer RNLI Press Officer, Ramsgate on 07759 480825
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
Being hoisted from trailer

RNLI/Sarah Hewes

Being hoisted from trailer to boat park
At rest in Ramsgate after her long journey

RNLI/Sarah Hewes

In position in new temporary home for work to start

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland