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Old Lifeboat Station (Mary Stanford Boathouse)

A Grade II Listed Building in Winchelsea Beach, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.922 / 50°55'19"N

Longitude: 0.7489 / 0°44'56"E

OS Eastings: 593299

OS Northings: 117216

OS Grid: TQ932172

Mapcode National: GBR RZF.451

Mapcode Global: FRA D6GN.TV2

Entry Name: Old Lifeboat Station (Mary Stanford Boathouse)

Listing Date: 27 October 2008

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1392961

English Heritage Legacy ID: 505293

Location: Icklesham, Rother, East Sussex, TN36

County: East Sussex

District: Rother

Civil Parish: Icklesham

Built-Up Area: Winchelsea Beach

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Rye

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

Find accommodation in
Rye Harbour

Listing Text


1917/0/10065 RYE HARBOUR
27-OCT-08 Old Lifeboat Station (Mary Stanford Bo

Former lifeboat house. Built in 1882 by a local builder, a Mr M Anne, financed from donations by the RNLI. Built of pre-cast "no fines" shingle based concrete, the roof covering replaced by C20 roofing felt.

Rectangular with end gables and four bay roof. Originally there were entrances to both north and south ends and two windows to east and west sides.

Both seaward (south) and landward (north) ends originally had large wooden ledged and braced plank double doors but the doors to the south end have been removed and infilled with blocks. Both ends retain the louvred wooden ventilation openings to the gables. The side elevations each had two casement windows with stone lintels and cills, with metal ventilation grilles above, but the windows were blocked in the C20 wih concrete blocks.

Four bay roof with scientific kingpost softwood roof with butt purlins. A platform to the southern bay above the blocked in doors is accessed by a fixed wooden ladder.

In 1882 the RNLI provided £255 from donations to build a new boathouse for the Winchelsea Lifeboat Station. Built by a local builder, a Mr M Anne, it was constructed of pre-cast "no fines" shingle based concrete. When this building was constructed there was already another lifeboat station at Rye Harbour, the Rye Lifeboat station, which had been located at Camber since 1865. In 1901 the Rye Lifeboat Station closed and the boathouse was demolished. On 10th March 1910 Winchelsea Lifeboat Station's name was changed to Rye Harbour Lifeboat Station because the lifeboat was entirely crewed and launched by residents of the village of Rye Harbour, situated at a distance of one and a quarter miles from the lifeboat station. The lifeboat, named Mary Stanford came into service in 1916. On 15th November 1928 the lifeboat was launched into a fierce south westerly gale to attempt the rescue of survivors of the Alice of Riga but the lifeboat capsized with the loss of all 17 crew. This was the biggest loss of life from a single lifeboat in the history of the RNLI. This disaster had a devastating impact on the Rye Harbour community and the lifeboat house was de-commissioned. After 1928 ownership passed from the RNLI successively to the Kent Catchment Board, Kent River Board, Southern Water and the Environment Agency. During the Environment Agency ownership the lifeboat house was used by Rye Harbour Nature Reserve as an educational facility but it was closed for this use in 2003.

* C19 lifeboat stations like this one are examples of early charitable and altruistic activity.
* Constructed in 1882 in pre-cast "no fines" shingle based concrete it is a rare surviving example of the pre-1885 pioneering period of concrete construction and possibly the only pre-1885 concrete lifeboat house.
* The 1928 Mary Stanford lifeboat disaster was the biggest loss of life from a single lifeboat in the history of the RNLI and the lifeboat house has historic value as the only building directly connected with this disaster.

J C Stanford "The Mary Stanford Lifeboat House." 2008. Unpublished report.
Christopher C Stanley "Highlights in the History of Concrete" by the Cement and Concrete Association.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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