ROBERT AND SUSAN’

The fourth Lifeboat for Newbiggin was provided from a legacy of £400 from Miss E. H. Jacomb-Hood of No. 1 Dacre Park, Leigh in Kent and was named ‘Robert and Susan’ as she requested. This particular Lifeboat was the largest to be sent to the Station measuring 37 foot long by 8 foot 6 inches wide, weighing 4 ton 9 cwt and being propelled by 12 oars. She was a ‘Standard’ self-righting vessel and was the 33rd of 109 total build. The boat builder was Forrestt of Limehouse. All of the latest improvements were incorporated into the design of this Lifeboat including a water ballast system. This system consists of a series of tanks amidships, one or more which can be filled with water or emptied at will in a space of a minute. The object is to increase the ballast and immersion of the boat and consequently her draft in the water and stability when circumstances are met when doing so without affecting her fixed weight for land carriage or draft in very shallow water. The Lifeboat is also self-righting and self-emptying of water.
The new Lifeboat had its harbour trials on November 24th, 1885 and a new carriage was also supplied by Mr. J. Knapton for the sum of £120.

Naming Ceremony at Newbiggin
On Saturday morning December 2nd, 1885 the old Lifeboat ‘William Hopkinson,’ was taken up to the Railway Station to make way for the new Lifeboat which was delivered to the Station by the Great North and NorthEast Railways A new carriage was also to be delivered by the Railway Company. The District Inspector, on his visit to the Station, notes that there were many ‘expressions of regret’ at the removal of the old Lifeboat.
The Lifeboat naming ceremony took place at the Lifeboat House on December 5th, 1885 in front of a large crowd. Before the naming, the Lifeboat had been decked in flags and pulled from the railway station and through the town by a team of six horses which were loaned for the occasion. The North Seaton Brass Band led the procession. On arriving at the top of Sandridge the horses were uncoupled by direction of the District Inspector. The Lifeboat was then manoeuvred down to the boathouse in through the back doors and out of the front doors for the ceremony. Major Wadilove presided and led with a description of the Lifeboat and said he had no doubt that the men of Newbiggin would make good use of the new Lifeboat when occasion occurred. A choir formed of Fisher Girls then sang the hymn ‘Eternal Father Strong to Save’. After the hymn and a prayer Captain Meadows handed over the Lifeboat to the Station which had been presented by Miss Jacomb Hood who lived in Kent. He then went on to reflect on the old boat and its new successor as well as the former Coxswain, Philip Jefferson. After which Mrs. Glencowe Cookson performed the ceremony of christening the Lifeboat the ‘Robert and Susan’. A number of the platform party entered the Lifeboat whereupon she was launched for a trip around the bay. Later in the National Schoolroom the fishermen and their wives were entertained to tea and there was a concert in the evening.