An insight into the lifeboat of 1860s

The diary and records which date back to the 1860s.
The diary and records which date back to the 1860s.

Historical diaries written by a lifeboat’s coxswain more than 150 years ago have been donated back to the community.

The diaries written by Thomas Dawson, the third coxswain of Newbiggin lifeboat Robert and Susan, between 1860 and 1900, were found during a clean-up of a house in Whitley Bay.

And now the documents have been handed to the Newbiggin Maritime Centre to go on display for all to see.

The diaries set out key maritime events and rescues for the Newbiggin lifeboat volunteers more than 100 years ago, a lifeboat that needed the brute force of the crew to pull on the oars to get out to sea for the rescue.

Thomas’s clear and tidy writing makes the text clearly legible in the records and he is credited with writing a poignant poem about the ‘Anglia’ disaster in 1904, which saw seven Newbiggin fishermen drown.

The diaries were donated by Peggy Miller. The 90-year-old, who now lives in Whitley Bay, was married to the late Freddie Miller, great great grandson of Thomas Dawson.

She had the diaries in her attic for many years and decided to donate them to the centre after visiting it with her family.

Peggy said: “I am really amazed by the Newbiggin lifeboat as well as the Maritime Centre displays and everything the volunteers do.

“These diaries will now be available for many others to see now and in the future to give a glimpse into Newbiggin community life all those years ago.”