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RNLI Henry Blogg Museum remains open for summer 2024

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI’s museum in Cromer remains open this summer ahead of essential work at the Rocket House – with the hunt on to find a new home for the collection and storage for Henry Blogg’s lifeboat.

Pic shows Henry Blogg's lifeboat H.F Bailey at the museum in Cromer. The shot shows the scale of the vessel filling the entire museum with a gallery around it and can only be seen from midships with a man on board


Henry Blogg's lifeboat H.F Bailey at the museum in Cromer

Visitors to Cromer will be able to enjoy the museum, named after the RNLI’s most decorated crew member, Henry, throughout the school holidays before the collection is moved temporarily in the autumn for repair and restoration works.

Arrangements were agreed this week between the RNLI and North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) for the collection, which includes historic lifeboat H.F Bailey, to remain in place until the autumn.

The museum aims to take up a temporary home, which the search is underway for, during works and staff and volunteers are appealing for the help of local people to find a location.

It is also essential to find safe and secure storage for the H.F Bailey as its size and historical significance mean it can only be housed in specialist locations, equipped to deal with a large heritage vessel.

NNDC recently committed £1m-worth of funding for the restoration at the Rocket House.

RNLI Heritage Development Manager Jacqui Palmer said: “I’m delighted we’re staying throughout the summer and offering visitors our usual outstanding experience – 2024 is set to have an extra sparkle as it’s our 200th year and Henry Blogg, who we’re named after, is a vital part of our past.

“Henry spent more than 50 years saving lives at sea from Cromer. Visitors can see artefacts, including the lifeboat he coxswained during World War II, and get involved in activities telling the story of Henry and others who’ve contributed to lifesaving across the generations.

“We’re also excited for our future at the Rocket House once repairs are complete. In the meantime, we aim to make it a fantastic summer and prepare for our temporary move. We still need a home while building repairs happen so please contact us, if you know of somewhere locally – even a site where we could put up a temporary structure is of interest.”

Cllr Tim Adams, Leader of North Norfolk District Council, said: “The issues surrounding the future of the RNLI Museum, the Rocket House Café, accessible lift, and public toilet provision within the Rocket House have been a concern many residents and visitors in recent months.

“I am grateful to the RNLI, particularly the volunteers locally, and to all Council staff who have worked hard to secure the future of building. I am most of all grateful to the numerous RNLI families across the district and beyond have shown great forbearance as we sought to resolve these issues, which have been the subject of significant scrutiny and discussion.

“Our attention here as a Council is now on carrying out the works required to the building later in the year. This is a significant project for the Council, and we will aim to reduce impacts on our tenants and visitors as much as possible.

“The works do require the removal of Museum artifacts, and of course the nationally significant H.F Bailey which we expect to be a spectacle itself when this occurs following the summer.”

North Norfolk MP, the Rt Hon Duncan Baker, said: “I am delighted that both the Council and the RNLI are able to reach agreement and reassure everyone that the Bailey is safe for the future.

“It is the most famous lifeboat in RNLI history, used by the most decorated lifeboatman and son of Cromer, Henry Blogg. This agreement to safeguard the building and keep the Bailey in its home, is absolutely the right decision for North Norfolk.”

The RNLI had been due to leave the building in July but a new short-term lease was agreed by NNDC’s Cabinet on Monday 13 May.

RNLI staff and volunteers are working to identify a temporary location because they are committed to keeping the collection in Cromer during works, given the significance of Henry Blogg to Cromer and the RNLI’s history. At this stage, no location has been identified.

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.

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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.