Easy does it. Grace Darling's coble is gently hoisted over the top of the RNLI Grace Darling Museum. © RNLI
The fishing boat famously used by British heroine Grace Darling to help rescue crew and passengers from the stricken steamship SS Forfarshire has returned to Bamburgh in Northumberland to take pride of place in the RNLI Grace Darling Museum.
After almost two years in storage in the Regional Museums Store for the North East at Beamish, the 21ft (6.4m) fishing coble journeyed the 65 miles on a low loader before being lifted over the new building by crane and installed in its new display area within the museum.
The coble is one of the last pieces needed to complete the restoration of the museum, which has seen all but its front façade demolished to make way for a new two-storey museum, which will open to the public on Tuesday December 18 2007.
“The museum is now almost ready for opening,” said Museum Manager Tony Walton, “and the return of the coble is the last piece of the jigsaw.”
Managed by the RNLI Heritage Trust, the new museum boasts better access and better conditions for displaying the unique Grace Darling collection.
Grace Darling became a national heroine after she and her father rowed out to sea through treacherous waters from the Longstone Lighthouse to rescue survivors of the stricken SS Forfarshire in 1838.
One hundred years after the rescue, the original museum opened in her honour with the coble as its centrepiece. Today Grace Darling’s volunteer spirit has become intrinsically linked with that of the RNLI and her exploits form a key part of the National Curriculum.