THE ROYAL NATIONAL LIFEBOAT INSTITUTION
The history of the Lifeboats and the RNLI in Sheringham dates back to 1838 at least. There have been many shipwrecks off this coast and many lives have been saved thanks to the heroism of the Lifeboatmen.
Prior to 1838, a large fishing boat called the 'Upcher', named after Charlotte Upcher who lent Harry West the money to build it, was used back in 1826. The current lifeboat is the 'Manchester Unity of Oddfellows' The Atlantic 75 carries a crew of three and has a maximum speed of 34 knots. It is the fastest lifeboat in the RNLI fleet.
The information which follows is only a potted history of the lifeboats in Sheringham, however, over the course of the coming months we hope to be building up to a full history (with the help of the local community). On 29th November, 1826 there was a severe gale and seven Sheringham fishermen were lost when their two boats overturned just off-shore and in January 1838 a large Sheringham Fishing boat called a Twenty footer was damaged and sunk on Sheringham Shoal.
These two incidents together made a profound impression on Charlotte Upcher, she decided to donate the first lifeboat, the 'Augusta'. This lifeboat was launched on 14th November 1838 and the first Coxswain was Robert Long (incidentally his great, great, .... granddaughter actually works with us at present).
The Augusta was in service for 56 years and for the first 30 years of that time was the only lifeboat in Sheringham. At that time the seas off Sheringham were very busy, in fact Sheringham had a fleet of over 250 fishing boats. The lifeboats were kept very busy!
The first recorded launch where lives were saved was to a vessel called the Russian Barque Dygden from Abo on 5th February 1841. Amazingly during those many years of lifeboat service, not one lifeboatman was lost, this must be attributed to the skill of the Coxswain, the heroism of the crews and not least of all because they always wore their lifejackets. The Augusta was declared unseaworthy in 1894 and towards the end of the 1940's she was given to the Norfolk Sea Scouts to use on the Broads.
Unfortunately she was badly neglected and in 1953 she was found, cut in half and being used as a shelter at Ranworth. Most traces of her have now gone, but a few years ago a local businessman found what is believed to be some of her original planking which is now preserved in a tank in Sheringham.
Other Lifeboats have been:
Henry Ramey Upcher 1894 - 1935 (Preserved and can still be seen in Sheringham)
The Duncan 1867 - 1886
William Bennett 1886 - 1904
J C Madge 1904 - 1936
The Foresters Centenary 1936 - 1961
The Manchester Unity of Oddfellows 1961 - 1990
Lloyds 2 1990 - 1992
Atlantic 21 1992 - 1994
Manchester Unity of Oddfellows 1994 - Present
There are probably more...... are there? Please tell us.
If any information on this page is incorrect, please do tell us as we rely totally on outside sources and as we have stated previously, we will be adding to this section over the course of the coming months. If you have any information you would like to share, stories, pictures, photographs or the like, please contact us, we will be very pleased to hear from you. Sheringham Lifeboats have their own web site: www.sheringhamlifeboat.co.uk