Page 13 - July 2019
P. 13

Visit to the RNLI Station An enlightening visit to Tower Pier
Fire Fighter Nick Harding aboard the RNLI E Class lifeboat at Tower Pier
  Andy presenting Jill with a copy of our book
  In April Liveryman Andy Phillips organised a very interesting visit to the Tower Lifeboat Station. Operating from the former Metropolitan Police Marine Division pier close to Waterloo Bridge the station takes its name from its former location at Tower Pier. The service opened at Tower Pier in 2002 and moved upstream to its present site in 2006.
We were met by our RNLI guide for the morning, Jill Waite, who gave us a fascinating talk on the work of the RNLI, especially that of the four lifeboats based on the River Thames – the others are at Gravesend, Chiswick and Teddington. Jill reminded us of the event that led to the formation of the lifeboat service on the Thames, the Marchioness disaster
of 1989. When she asked us if we recalled the event she was a little taken aback when PM Bruce Hoad replied that he was in charge of the first LFB crews to respond to the emergency.
Tower Lifeboat is the busiest station in the lifeboat fleet, with up to 500 launches each year. Because of the need for a fast response time the station has two full-time crew members, backed up by volunteers drawn from all over the country. On the day we visited the volunteer was Nick Harding, a London Firefighter based at Brigade Headquarters.
Speed and manoeuvrability are built into the boat operated at Tower Pier, a Mark 2 E Class, Hurley Burly, propelled by water jets and capable of reaching 40 knots.
Nick told us about the capabilities of the boat and outlined some of the problems encountered on the treacherous waters of the river.
Our pictures show Andy presenting Jill with a copy of our book published for the 350th Anniversary of the Great Fire of London, and Nick on board the station’s E Class boat.
The morning was rounded off by lunch in a private dining room of the nearby Civil Service Club. A very successful visit with our grateful thanks due to Andy.
David Holt, PRM Committee and Events Committee
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