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Ancient and Modern: Tyne lifeboats come together - 'Tyne', the world's second-oldest purpose-built lifeboat meets her modern day counterpart, Tynemouth RNLI Severn-class lifeboat 'Spirit of Northumberland'.

Following the completion of a five month renovation project, the world’s second oldest lifeboat, the 180 year-old Tyne met her modern-day counterpart, Tynemouth RNLI Severn class lifeboat Spirit of Northumberland.

The lifeboats came together at the North East Maritime Trust, located on the banks of the river Tyne at South Shields, to celebrate the completion of the restoration, before the Tyne is moved to temporary storage until she is placed back on display at her restored Victorian shelter in early March 2014.

The Tyne was put into service in 1833, replacing the world’s first purpose-designed lifeboat, Original, which had served since 1790. Both lifeboats were operated by the Tyne Lifeboat Institution, an organisation that operated a lifeboat service protecting the dangerous approaches to the River Tyne between 1789 and 1937. The RNLI established a station at Tynemouth in 1862 and their lifeboats supplemented the existing lifeboat services on the Tyne.

Tim West, NEMT Director, and Renovation Project Manager, said: ‘Bringing together for the first time, the world’s second oldest lifeboat and a modern-day lifeboat provides a unique and historic photo opportunity that illustrates the advances in lifeboat design and development from the pioneering days of the world’s first purpose designed rowing lifeboats, that all began here in South Shields, to the modern and fast high tech lifeboats of today.

Just sitting in the Tyne, it struck everyone who participated in this project of the bravery, courage and seamanship skills of the local Pilots who manned this small open boat in atrocious sea conditions when going to the aid of those in distress at the mouth of the river. The renovation of the Tyne will ensure that not only will the exploits of her crews be remembered, but also that an important part of our local and national maritime heritage will have been be preserved.’

Photo : RNLI/Adrian Don

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