Discovering Cornwall

Wreck and Rescue around Newquay – Before RNLI is one of a series of short videos sharing information about aspects of Cornish heritage and places of interest throughout Cornwall. This is an extension of an ongoing project on behalf of Newquay Museum entitled Discovering Newquay, with those videos included within this larger project.

Wreck and Rescue around Newquay

Before the RNLI & Newquay Lifeboat Station

A video produced by Kowethas Ertach Kernow (Association for Cornish Heritage) as part of its partnership with Newquay Old Cornwall Society at Newquay Museum is the first of a series entitled 'Wreck and Rescue around Newquay'. It shares the story of saving life along the coast around Newquay from the early 19th century starting with the coastguard and then the lifeboat service from 1860. Part I covers the period from the early 19th century to the coming of the lifeboat in 1860 and then their joint work in rescue until 1900. The ships wrecked and lost and the lives saved are covered in this video.

The video looks at use of the Dennett Rocket System and the bravery of coastguard men scaling cliffs and entering the boiling storm driven oceans with little of the safety gear men have today. The lifeboatmen with just oar and sail driven vessels battling massive oceans to save men before they and their vessels were swept onto Cornwall's unforgiving shores and almost certain death. 

These two branches of lifesaving heroes of the 19th century should never be forgotten. How many countless people alive today may have never existed but for these life saviours of old.

A podcast giving more information and greater detail from primary sources will also be available in due course.