The first of the Isle of Wight Historic Lifeboats
to be rescued for restoration was the 1887 pulling and sailing lifeboat
"Queen Victoria", which was stationed at
Bembridge from 1887 to 1902. On completion of her operational life,
she was sold in 1902 to one of the lifeboat crew, and eventually
became the first houseboat in Bembridge Harbour. Abandoned, and
in a derelict condition, she was purchased in 1989 by Martin Woodward,
(Coxswain of the Bembridge Lifeboat until 2003), but it took a further
nine years of fund raising and searching before a willing restorer
was found to return her to her original condition.
This was the Classic Boat Museum on Newport Quay,
where it was agreed to undertake restoration using skilled local
shipwrights and their own volunteers. After almost a year of hard
work, the "Queen Victoria" emerged in June
1998 looking absolutely superb, lovingly restored to her original
condition. An excellent job was done, but as with all restoration
projects, it cost a considerable amount, and the Trust is still
fundraising to meet these and other costs associated with "Langham"
"Queen Victoria" has since
been used extensively at events and re-enactments around the country
and abroad. Pulled on a carriage by Shire horses she makes a really
impressive sight. The Lifeboat now has many regular bookings, but
the Trust is actively seeking new opportunities to extend her programme.
Organisations wishing to hire "Queen Victoria"
for an event or re-enactment should contact the Isle of Wight Historic
Lifeboat Trust using the address at the bottom of this (and every)