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Whitby RNLI lifeboat museum has opened its doors after major renovations

Lifeguards News Release

The project took nine months and has transformed the 124-year-old former boathouse.

RNLI/Ceri Oakes

The Museum opens its doors again

The museum was created by former curator Pete Thomson's father Eric back in 1958. The building was used as the RNLI boat house until it was relocated to its current site further up the harbour.

Collecting RNLI artefacts over the years and records of Whitby’s RNLI gallantry the museum is also home to one of the RNLI’s oldest rowing lifeboats Robert and Ellen Robson.


Neil Williamson the current curator said: 'We’ve had a fantastic collection for many years but now thanks to the legacy and the creative people at Core who undertook the project we’ve been able to not only take care of the historic building but modernise the displays making it a welcome space for both children and adults.

'I would like to thank everyone who spared some time to share their ideas with us it really was a joint effort between our volunteer family and the RNLI to come up with ideas that we felt fit the space and the told the story that we wanted to get across.’

Part of the project included the complete restoration of the 104 year old lifeboat with the boat being pulled by hand through the streets to a temporary home at Coates Marine where volunteers spent hundreds of hours meticulously restoring the woodwork and paint work before she was returned to the museum.

Neil said: ‘The new layout of the lifeboat museum rightly makes Robert and Ellen Robson the star of the show, there’s the space to stand back and admire her and just pause to think about the things she’s seen at sea, the lives saved and the lives lost.

'We can't thank each and every person involved enough.'

The museum and shop, one of the country's most successful RNLI shops, are now both open daily thanks to the volunteers that spare their time.

Subject to the availability of volunteers the museum and shop will be open 11am-4pm daily.

If you’re interested in volunteering, please get in touch.

RNLI Media contacts

For more information contact RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Ceri Oakes on 07813359428 or at [email protected]



RNLI/Ceri Oakes

Inside the Museum

RNLI/Ceri Oakes

An old RNLI helmet

RNLI/Ceri Oakes

The refurbished shop

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.

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