NEWBIGGIN’S First Inshore Lifeboats - B511 and B553 'Kirklees'


During late February 1981 the relief Atlantic 21 class lifeboat known only as ‘B511’ arrived on a road trailer for transfer onto the ‘do-do’ carriage. This relief lifeboat was overall just over 22 feet long and powered by twin 50HP outboard engines capable of 32 knots giving a 50 mile radius of operation. It was a dreadful day with driving rain and a rough sea all day, reflecting in many respects the mood of the onlookers.
During the following week training was begun 'on station' with exercise launches every day. By early March 1981 Newbiggin lifeboat station was designated as being back on service.

B553 'Kirklees'

About a year after the relief lifeboat arrived she was replaced by a new ‘Atlantic 21’ class called ‘Kirklees’ which was donated to the RNLI following an appeal by the people of Kirklees, Yorkshire. She arrived on station on February 11th, 1982 and would be named later that year.

On Saturday July 3rd ,1982 the Atlantic 21 class Lifeboat ‘Kirklees’ was named at Newbiggin. Before a gathering of about 500 people Donald White from Kirklees Metropolitan Area named the new Lifeboat. She was funded through generous support of the residents of the Kirklees area and among the guests many were from that locality. The new Atlantic’s engines were provided by the Octave Club of Elland and the cost of the new launching tractor was substantially defrayed by a bequest of Mrs. L E Morgan of Sunderland in memory of her late husband Captain Robert Morgan.
The proceeds from Patrick Howarth’s book ‘Lifeboat In Danger’s Hour’ were donated by the author towards the cost of establishing the Atlantic Station at Newbiggin.
After the Lifeboat was named in front of the boathouse she was launched for a demonstration in the bay.