Up not Down, our new lifeboat house

A report on our meeting held on 5th March 2018

Our Scribe and past Prior Bro George Parrott is a supporter of the RNLI lifeboat. He was given access to the new lifeboat house during the build and told the story of the work with the aid of a pictorial diary.

Bro George began by highlighting the limitations imposed by the old lifeboat station position, across the road from the Spa. The building was cramped and could not house all the RNLI activities, the trek to the beach was difficult and involved a road closure, and the tractor could easily be swamped during the launch.

A larger building nearer the sea was called for. But, as Bro George said, this regrettably meant the loss of the boating pool which was filled in before work began.

It also meant widening the promenade and building a new section of sea wall out onto the beach. This took place over the winter of 2015/16.  As Bro George’s photographs showed this involved building a sheet pile coffer dam and much reinforced concrete work although a lot of the stone from the original sea wall was reused. The promenade surface was concreted to match the existing, but this required some remedial work over the coming months. New lamps, seats and railings were fitted.

Work on the boat house began soon after. The ground works including drains and foundation blocks took most of the summer of 2016, but the erection of the building steel frame took only 3 days. Erecting the block and brickwork and roof work continued through the winter.

External rendering started in March 2017 as did the internal fitting out. Bro George showed a sequence of photographs of the interior during this work. Some of the ceilings are flame resistant cedar. Finally the shop fittings were put into place, the galley was finished and the furniture arrived.

The building was handed over in July 2017 and soon a new larger lifeboat arrived. Now the main lifeboat, the inshore lifeboat, the shop, and the lifeguards are based in one building.

During the talk Bro George posed three questions. What are the wires on the roofs for? What is the big hatch inside the building for? What is the style of the building based on. He gave the answers. The wires are for safety lines when working at height, the hatch allows the refueling of the lifeboat, and this attractive building was styled to match the nearby Spa.

The Prior Bro Garry Sunley asked Gillian Bapty, a member of the fund raising lifeboat luncheon club, to give the vote of thanks.  She thanked Bro George for all the work involved in preparing his interesting presentation.