lifeboat 1

NUMBER 1 Coxswain Grubb and his crew

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The crew of the “Arab ”seen standing in front of their lifeboat.

Coxswain, David Grubb, is the tall man on the far left.

Each man wears the traditional cork life jacket; these became regulation issue for the RNLI in 1874, and were used until the introduction of the Kapok filled type, eventually superseded by the automatic inflation jacket used today.

Sadly Coxswain Grubb and some of this crew were lost in the 1900 disaster. 

NUMBER 2 The Pilots 

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Here we see the Arab pictured against the backdrop of the Pilot Cottages. 

The rope loops hanging over the side of the boat are known as grab lines.  At times of rescue these would have offered survivors a hand hold until they were recovered to the lifeboat. 

Zoom in and see if you can pick out coxswain Grubb.

The pilots monitored vessels entering the estuary and offered to guide them safely into harbour. Not every captain would pay for this service and instead would take their chances navigating their ship past the treacherous Doom Bar.

The Pilot cottages are today are mainly used as holiday accommodation NUMBER 3   `Exercise` launch

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Here we see the crew hauling the lifeboat down the slipway to launch for an exercise. Regular `exercise` launches ensure the crew are always prepared for an emergency.

Standing side-by-side are the 2 lifeboat stations at Hawkers Cove. The one on the left, built in1829 housed Padstow’s first lifeboat the Mariners Friend.

The boathouse on the right was built in 1863 to house the Albert Edward and later the Arab

Above the doors of the second building can be seen the name board which is now on display in the museum.  

Both the boathouses were closed in1931 when a 3rd boathouse was built to accommodate a new motorised lifeboat. Later both stations 1 & 2 were closed due to the silting up of the approach channel in the estuary 

The old boathouses are now private houses.


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This lovely, posed photograph shows some of the womenfolk who, when needed,would have helped the crew prepare and launch the lifeboat.  Speed was always crucial in rescues.

For the photograph, the women are all wearing spotless, white aprons. The woman in the boater hat holds a pair of binoculars.  

NUMBER 5 Launching the Lifeboat a family effort

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Again, another posed photograph.  Look carefully and see if you can pick out faces seen photograph 4.

We know this picture was taken on the slipway outside Number 2 Lifeboat Station because of the nameboard above the door – also seen in photograph 3.

NUMBER 6 Launching the Lifeboat

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This photograph shows the Arab at Harlyn Bay on her carriage pulled by sixhorses that would have hauled her from Padstow along the narrow country lanes.

NUMBER 7 Lifeboat Day 1910

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Lifeboat Day was and still is a special occasion in the life of the community.

Here we see the two lifeboats. The Edmund Harvey is in the foreground and Arab 2 with her bow facing the viewer.  Both boats were stationed at Hawkers Cove. The Arab II [1901- 1931], Edmund Harvey [1901 – 1931]. 

Crowds stand on the slipway whilst children sit on the wall. Everyone is in their finery for the occasion. Can you pick out the lady with a parasol?  Most people are wearing hats including the children - zoom in for more detail.

J Hawken’s Corn Store is locally known as the ‘Red Brick Building’ because it was constructed using bricks which was rare in Cornwall. As the building was in such a poor condition, the building was pulled down and rebuilt to a similar design in 1991. 


NUMBER 8 Edmund Harvey at the slipway 

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Here a crowd watch as the lifeboat the Edmund Harvey moors close to the slipway. The building with a first-floor balcony, top right of photograph is Raleigh House. This building can still be seen today. This slipway is now hidden beneath the present day car park.

NUMBER 9 Preparing to Launch

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This photograph shows a close up of the lifeboat being prepared for launching. 

The cone shape canvas seen on the stern is the drogue used to keep the lifeboat bow up to the swell whilst carrying out a rescue.

The crew are dressed in oilskins, sou’westers and cork lifejackets. Note the ladder used to get aboard the boat.

The young boy watching is wearing knickerbockers and a cap.

10 The James Stevens No 4, heading out past Stepper Point, in the background Pentire Point

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There have been lifeboats stationed at Padstow since 1823. The first being ‘The Mariner’s Friend’.

From this time, the lifeboat service in Padstow has developed through the years to the present day when we have the latest ‘Tamar’ Class high-speed all-weather boat in service today.

There are many stories of bravery to be told but above all a newspaper report of the time paints a vivid picture of the Disaster of 1900, see the panel below.

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This display contains a selection of lifeboat artefacts, including the “Albert & Edward” & a model of the ”Arab” which was lost in the 1900 disaster, along with the steam lifeboat James Stevens No 4.

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This outstanding model of the "Duke of Northumberland " is that of a sister ship "James Stevens" No 4 which was sadly lost with all hands in the 1900 disaster off Stepper Point Padstow. This model has recently been placed in our custody by a friend of the museum. It is interesting that this is one of only 3 of this class built and is the only one fitted with water jet, the others used conventional screw propulsion technology.