Model, of Liverpool-class lifeboat Liverpool

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made in Liverpool

Postcard of Model, of Liverpool-class lifeboat Liverpool.
© National Museums Scotland

Model, of Liverpool-class lifeboat Liverpool

This contemporary model from around 1850 represents the Liverpool-class lifeboat 'Liverpool', a forerunner of the type of lifeboat adopted by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution some 40 years later. The wooden model was built by Thomas Costain, a Liverpool boat builder and was almost certainly part of his entry for the Duke of Northumberland's competition in 1851 to find a satisfactory lifeboat.

'Liverpool' represents the Costain design prior to the fitting of excess water draining tubes (introduced in 1850-1). Buoyancy was provided by a leather-covered cork fender running the length of the lifeboat and air tight casks secured in wooden cases along the sides. The boat was propelled by twelve oars, two spritsails and a jib.

Costain built nine lifeboats of this type for the Liverpool Dock Board Trustees in 1840. They proved very successful in Liverpool Bay, assisting 269 wrecks and saving 1128 lives.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-002-094-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1984.41
Date: c. 1850
Model & original: Around 1850
Material: Wood, leather, cork. Inscription: LIFE BOAT, LIVERPOOL
Dimensions: 763 mm x 228 mm x 178 mm
What: Boat / lifeboat / model
Subject: 23. SHIPPING, Special Purpose Vessels (Departmental Classification)
Who: Duke of Northumberland (Probably designed for his competition)
Thomas Costain (Designer)
Where: England, Lancashire, Liverpool
Description: Contemporary model of a Liverpool-type lifeboat designed by Thomas Costain of Liverpool c. 1850, probably for the Duke of Northumberland's competition in 1851 for the best lifeboat; scale 1:12
  • Storer, J D. Ship Models in the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh: A catalogue of models representing the history of shipping from 1500 BC to the present day. Edinburgh: Royal Scottish Museum Information Series, 1985, p 86. 
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