Historical pictures of the RNLI in Northumberland colourised to mark 200th anniversary

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has had a number of historical photographs colourised as part of celebrations for its 200th anniversary.

The charity turns 200 on March 4 and has brought its history to life by using technology to clean and colourise images from its past, including some taken in Northumberland.

One shows coxswain William Brown, who served on Cresswell Lifeboat from 1875 for 50 years, donning a life jacket with help from his wife.

By the age of 70 William had rescued nearly 100 people and he was presented with a Certificate of Service after his retirement, while his wife was awarded a Gold Brooch in recognition for her work as a launcher and fundraiser.

Before launching tractors were used, wives, daughters, and younger sons of the crew would act as launchers. This is shown in another of the colourised images from Northumberland.

A rowing and sailing lifeboat was stationed at Hauxley in 1852 for 87 years, during which five lifeboats served the local community, launching 81 times and rescuing 246 people.

A Hauxley lifeboat is pictured being recovered by the ‘lady launchers’.

RNLI heritage and archive research manager Hayley Whiting said: “The carefully coloured images illustrate just a few highlights of the incredible history of lifesaving over the previous two centuries, where over 144,000 lives have been saved to date.

“Each image has been brought to life by our own in-house creative team with hours spent on attention to detail, along with research being undertaken to ensure each one gave a true, lifelike representation.”

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