Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Lifbåt 416 returns home after 155 years

A 19th century lifeboat given to the King of Sweden by Queen Victoria’s wine merchant has made a homecoming voyage.

Lifbåt 416 was rowed across the Thames to Limehouse Basin, the site of the yard where she was built, where a commemorative plaque was unveiled to mark the visit and the RNLI’s 200th anniversary.

Lifbåt 416, is a self-righting lifeboat built to the RNLI’s specification at Forrestt & Son. The craft was a gift to King Karl XV from James Gunston Chillingworth in 1868 at a time when the self-righters built by Forrestt were tested by being dropped into the water on Limehouse Cut – London’s oldest canal which opened in 1770.

Lifbåt 416’s saved 80 lives on the treacherous waters around Skanör, southern Sweden during her career, answering her last call-out in 1939.

This event has closed the circle for us.

Johan Ullenby

She spent more than 45 years on display outside Falsterbo museum before her restoration to seaworthiness in 1992.

 “This event has closed the circle for us,” said Skanör-Falsterbo Lifbåtsroddarelag chairman Johan Ullenby. “The boat was built in Limehouse in 1868, saved many lives in Sweden, and has now come back to her home waters after 155 years.

“The plaque marks the location of Forrestt & Son, where she was built, and is also a permanent record of her return to the Thames in 2024 – the 200th anniversary of the RNLI being founded.”

The commemorative plaque was unveiled in collaboration with the Canal & River Trust, the charity which cares for Limehouse Lock, Limehouse Cut and 2,000 miles of inland waterways in England and Wales.


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