Restoration work underway on the two historic Hastings lifeboats

Restoration work has now started to repair the two historic Hastings lifeboats in the Old Town says the Macbean and Bishop Trust.

Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 12:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 12:08 pm
Lifeboat Work 1 SUS-190430-091027001
Lifeboat Work 1 SUS-190430-091027001

The work is going well under the watchful eye of Tush Hamilton and Dee Day White and the first stage of rubbing down has now been completed.

Dee Day explained: “Poor old Priscilla Macbean, at 98 years old, sits under two large sycamore trees. She doesn’t suffer from arthritis, just dampness and old age and never really dries out.

Lifeboat Work 2 SUS-190430-091208001

“Her deck is now becoming fragile, so that is another job in the near future, but more important is the removal and replacement of her top rail.

“Unfortunately we have found that on her shaded side quite a lot of rotten timber where the damp has got into her. So her whole strafing rail has had to be renewed.

“The purpose of this rail is to protect the hull of the boat when she went alongside a larger vessel to hold her clear.

“It has uncovered very interesting insights to the composition of her, revealing double diagonal 9mm mahogany planks with a sandwich in between of a layer of oiled calico so that the water proof membrane would be held in place, with crossed mahogany 9mm planks making it a very rigid construction .

“The rest of the work is going very well with Andie and Claire making what appears to be a very good job.

“The Cyril and Lilian Bishop - the Ghost of Dunkirk - is coming along well and will look splendid in the next week or so.

“Our rockery on the site is now well established. Thank your for all your help Terry Drinkwater, of parks and gardens, and our own gardener, John Martin, who strims the grass regularly.

“Not only are these two old ladies beginning to show their age but so are we two old men, Tush and myself, so it has been decided to enrol younger members into the Macbean and Bishop Trust to help with this wonderful asset and display that we have here in the Old Town.

“Now the public can see where all donations are spent, so please help if you can.”

If a member of your family, grandads, fathers or uncles, ever crewed the Cyril and Lillian Bishop between 1931 and 1950, could you please let Dee Day (07812 077008) or Tush (07546 461302) know, ahead of an exciting event being planned for mid-June, for which details will be revealed later.

The Cyril and Lilian Bishop lifeboat earned the name The Ghost of Dunkirk for her involvement in rescuing stranded troops on the beaches of Dunkirk during World War II.

She came under heavy fire and suffered a number of bullet holes but survived to return to Hastings where she saw many years service as the lifeboat.