The Conservation of The Zetland Lifeboat

The Zetland Lifeboat
The Zetland Lifeboat

‘The Oldest Lifeboat in the World’ has been given a much needed make over thanks to fundraisers and volunteers from the local area.

Teesside’s very own Zetland Lifeboat has recently undergone conservation work due to its age.

The lifeboat has been in a unit in Middlesbrough being worked on by different volunteers from a selection of organisations that came forward to do their bit to ensure that the lifeboat looked as good as new.

The Zetland Lifeboat is world famous for being ‘The Oldest Lifeboat in the World’, and  she returned after her conservation to a huge crowd on Redcar seafront.

The Lifeboat was built in 1802 and was in service for seventy-eight years, saving five-hundred lives, before being retired in 1880.

The Lifeboat is now being held at the Zetland Lifeboat Museum, Redcar, which is ran by volunteers and funded through donations.

The condition of the lifeboat was starting to decline and thanks to A.V Dawson ltd. They were able to begin the conservation of the Lifeboat.

The Lifeboat at the Start of her Conservation

After her conservation, the Zetland is now in the best condition it has been in since she was built in 1802, and since returning home, she has brought in more visitors than ever before as more people wanted to see the new and improved version of the world famous boat.

The museum shut its doors in March 2020, and is yet to reopen due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Due to the level of donations, the museum is managing to stay afloat and is also having some renovations done themselves, finally having some new cabinets on display after the original ones were starting to rust and look slightly unpleasant.

Arthur Smith, 62, Museum Curator

Arthur Smith is the museum’s Curator.

He said: “The Zetland is over 200 years old and had areas that were showing signs of wood rot. Other areas required attention due to wear and tear.”

The Inside of the Lifeboat
The Work Being Started on the Lifeboat

“The biggest task was removing the paint.

“Most of it was done by blasting, but some areas had to be done by hand which was time consuming and quite hard.”


The Lifeboat Back Home at the end of her Conservation

“In the last 2 years, the museum has had several new cabinets made, a new floor laid as the old one collapsed when taking the Zetland out.

“A full rewire was required to bring the electrics into modern standards.

“The museum needs visitors to ensure people are made aware of the history and heritage of the Zetland and Redcar as a town.

“As the museum is free to enter, donations are important to ensure the museum can remain open by helping to pay the running costs.

“Although the museum has not opened during the pandemic, we have still received donations and also the profits from selling local booklets kindly written by a local author.

“Thankfully due to the money coming in, the pandemic has not caused any major issues.

“If possible, we would like to open the museum at Easter.”

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