103-year-old rowing lifeboat to be pulled through streets of Whitby this weekend

THE clock will be turned back nearly seven decades when what was the last rowing lifeboat in service for the RNLI is pulled through the streets of Whitby at the weekend.

Whitby lifeboat museum curator Neil Williamson with shop manager Barrie Lazenby outside the museum where 'Robert & Ellen Robson' is currently housed

The 103-year-old rowing lifeboat Robert and Ellen Robson will be taken by two dozen crew to a temporary home at Coates Marine, while the museum, where it is normally on show, is renovated. The Rubie class RNLI lifeboat was taken out of service in 1957 and since then has been the museum’s main feature.

The deputy launch authority for Whitby RNLI and museum curator, Neil Williamson, said: “The RNLI has a rich history of lifeboating in Whitby and the pulling of the old lifeboat will be quite a sight as the boat has not moved from its current home since 2002, pulling it by hand as it would have been in the past feels like a nod to those who volunteered before us.”

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The lifeboat will leave the museum on Pier Road at 9.30am on Saturday. It will be on display at the junction of Baxtergate and New Quay Road between 11am and 3.30pm. Crew members will be on hand to talk about the charity’s work and accept donations.

Historic image of the 'Robert & Ellen Robson' lifeboat being pulled out in 1953

Although the lifeboat was mainly launched to escort fishing vessels into the harbour of Whitby in bad weather, it was used in October 1949 to help rescue 17 students from Aberdeen University who had become cut off on the infamous Black Nab outcrop.

Whitby's lifeboat museum, in the town's former lifeboat station building, is a flagship for the RNLI and visited by thousands every year.

The museum closed on Monday - although the shop remains open - to allow work to start on creating a new visitor experience, which aims to reopen early next summer.