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The Priscilla Macbean

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Priscilla Macbean
The 'Priscilla Macbean'
Historic Lifeboat comes to Hastings
Priscilla MacBean
Update 25th Jan 2014

A bit of background

16/11/14 - Priscilla MacBean is dragged to her dry dock (external site) here
Youtube Video - "Moving The Priscilla Macbean" Full version or Shorter version

Priscilla MacBean

Priscilla MacBeanDeeday supervising loading the lifeboat onto Elva’s recovery vehicle,

Priscilla MacBean

Priscilla Macbean pays her respects to Hastings Lifeboat Station.


Priscilla MacBean

Welcoming party (from left) – Cllr John Hodges, Deputy Mayor Bruce Dowling, Bev and Deeday White with grandson, Mayor Alan Roberts, Pat and Tush Hamilton and ex cox’n Charlie Sharrod.

Man-About-the-Old-Town, Deeday White is known for travelling all over the place looking for stock for his eclectic shop in Hastings Old Town and at the end of one such day not long ago Deeday’s wife Bev said to him, conversationally, as you do, “what have you bought today?” “A lifeboat” came back the swift reply.

Deeday had found, in a field in Hailsham, the former RNLB Eastbourne Lifeboat ‘Priscilla Macbean’ and at the same time saved her from a fate as a chicken coop or garden shed. The boat, a 35-foot self righting motor lifeboat, the first to be designed for beach-launching and was constructed at Cowes by J. Samuel White and delivered to Eastbourne in 1921, the greater part of the boat’s cost having been met by a legacy from the late Mr Edward Macbean of Glasgow. Priscilla MacBean was the first lifeboat to come to the south east coast that was equipped with sails, oars and a complete revolution, an engine! The Eastbourne Fishermen who were crew for the boat had no confidence in what they called the "new-fangled engine" so they continued to row and sail everywhere the same way they did their own fishing boats. Eventually it was decided that this type of lifeboat was unsuitable for use in the English Channel and she was transferred to Kirkcudbright in 1928 and on to Maryport in 1931 where she stayed until 1934. Out of service she became ‘Laurita’ in France and later, almost back to Maryport, appearing on Lake Windemere before heading south again some 20 years ago - so, not a straight retirement from Eastbourne to a nearby field!

A prominent site at the entrance to Hastings Old Town has been selected and it’s hoped to have Priscilla MacBean on display by the fifteenth November 2014 to co-incide with the anniversary of the ill-fated Mary Stanford and theRye Harbour tragedy in 1928 when The Mary Stanford was launched into stormy seas to help the crew of the stricken vessel Alice of Riga. On return to the harbour the lifeboat was seen to capsize and her whole crew perished. Mary Stanford was the sister boat to Priscilla Macbean, constructed by the same boatbuilders to the same design but supplied without an engine.

The Lifeboat’s journey to restoration has already started, spurred on by the likes of Deeday, Tush Hamilton and CharlieSharrod, ex cox’n of the Hastings Lifeboat and the generosity of Hastings Borough Council and local companies French’s and Elva who helped to bring her to Hastings, completely free of charge, Trade Paints, who have ties with Hastings Lifeboat and the East Hastings Sea Angling Association who are provided a temporary home for her whilst she was being restored.

Ion Castro 5/12/13

Priscilla MacBean
the boat awaiting restoration, that's the rudder laying on the beach

Priscilla MacBean
A similar but older lifeboat from the RNLI collection in Chatham Dockyard.

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