Tuesday, 12 February 2013


From: 'Devonshire,  containing historical, biographical and descriptive Notices of Exmouth and its Neighbourhood  &c. by W. Everitt  and published by S Drayton and Sons,  Exeter,  1867:

"The Exmouth boat is on the improved model of Peake and Washington, with air-tight compartments at both ends; air-tight boxes along the sides;  and with copper tubes in the centre, passing quite through the boat, with downward opening valves; so that when a sea is shipped, the weight and impetus of it open the valves and give it an outlet, whilst the water seeking to ascend keeps them usually closed.   Ample appliances of ropes, grapnels, anchors, hatchets, lifebuoys, and cork jackets provide for varied emergency;  and ingeniously constructed rowlocks make the oars self-protecting.  The keel is of iron, with well-adjusted wood and cork ballast,  and the boat is much higher at the air-tight poop ends than along the sides;  so that, in case of capsizing,  she floats on the high ends,  and being free in the middle and heaviest along the keel,-  momentarily her top, - she rolls over by mere gravitation, and so rights herself.   The boat is at all times kept ready mounted on a four wheel truck;  and the "Wreck and Salvage Act" provides ample power to get horses,  wherever horses are to be had."

This was the lifeboat which Charles Dickens wrote up in 1862 and to the cost of which Lady Rolle contributed, and not with two fingers!   It sounds a bit alarming that someone had to go looking for horses before the boat could put to sea


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