Updated May 2017
EAST DURHAM HERITAGE GROUP
A date for your diary. Please come along and support the East Durham Heritage Group.
Seaham Harbour Marina
Updated 25 November 2016
RNLI STATUE TO BE UNVEILED AT SEAHAM HARBOUR MARINA
A unique statue of a historic RNLI lifeboat crew member is set to be unveiled here at Seaham Harbour Marina this Sunday 27th November at 1pm!
The new eight foot tall statue has been carefully crafted by South Hetton sculptor, Ray Lonsdale, who created Seaham’s famous and beloved ‘Tommy’ statue, and we can’t wait for you all to be able to see and enjoy it.
The new lifeboat crew member statue was commissioned and fundraised for by the East Durham Heritage and Lifeboat Centre, located at Seaham Harbour Marina. The statue is in remembrance of the many RNLI volunteers who served in the area between 1870-1979 - a fitting tribute to those who manned the station over the 109 years it served the Durham coast, and to those who lost their lives saving those in peril.
Sculpted from Corten steel, the Coxswain (the crew member who steers the boat) will develop the same rust-like finish as the ‘Tommy’ statue. The group has even worked with the artist to ensure the statue of the coxswain is historically accurate, including his 1950’s oilskin coat, sou’wester and life jacket.
We’re all so excited about the unveiling of the statue; the artwork is fantastic and it’s been such a great achievement of the Heritage Centre. Seaham Harbour Marina has so much to offer visitors, from its stunning coastal views, to the brilliant businesses and cafes, plus it’s an ideal point from which you can explore local heritage! We’re sure you’ll love the new statue and it will be incredibly popular helping to bring many new visitors to the marina.
The Heritage Group is really pleased to welcome Mr. Jon Knight, RNLI Head of Lifesaving in the presence of the few surviving members of RNLI Seaham and the families of former members, together with representatives of funders of the project and supporters of the group. Funding for the project has been gratefully provided from three sources, the Durham County Council Area Action Partnership, the County Durham Community Foundation and from East Durham Heritage Group reserves.
The incredible statue will take pride of place on the East Quay, close to the heritage centre which offers you the chance to explore information on the maritime, industrial and social history and heritage of the Seaham and East Durham area. Ran by volunteers, at the Heritage Centre you can also see the restored George Elmy lifeboat and learn about the tragic events of the 17th of November 1962.
The East Durham Heritage Group has been thrilled so far at the response to the announcement that the memorial is to be unveiled. It will be a very valuable added feature of the Marina remembering all those who served, risked and gave their lives at RNLI Seaham.
To see the amazing new statue, visit us after the unveiling event from Sunday 27th.
Updated December 2016
EAST DURHAM HERITAGE GROUP
Since opening in May 2013 the East Durham Heritage & Lifeboat Centre within Seaham Harbour Marina has enjoyed increased success to the extent that visitor numbers for 2016 have exceeded 34,000.
The Heritage Centre Visitors Books record visitors from across the world who are either enjoying their first visit to Seaham, returning for a further visit or visiting their home town from a distant corner of the globe.
The Heritage Centre is staffed solely by volunteers who give their time freely to pass on information on the areas, Maritime, Industrial and Social heritage. The Centre holds many hundreds of photographs that are available for visitors to peruse, copies of many can be purchased.
The Centre also houses the Seaham lifeboat the RNLB George Elmy which was restored over a four-year period culmination in its sea-bound return in June 2013 to complete a journey it started in 1962 when it launched to save the fishermen of The Economy which ended in disaster with the loss of the crew and four of the five on board the Economy.
The Heritage Group’s latest project has been the commissioning of a memorial to all those who served at RNLI Seaham from the station’s opening in 1870 to its closure in 1979. “The Coxswain”, designed and crafted by artist Ray Lonsdale now stands on the East Quay of Seaham Marina facing seaward to remember those who risked their lives and the wellbeing of their families to save ‘those in peril’ off the Durham coast.
The sustainability of the Heritage Centre depends on the Group attracting sufficient numbers of enthusiastic volunteers to provide cover during the opening days. The Group are always keen to meet members of the public who have an interest in heritage, who like meeting visitors and who can commit to being available for a few hours a month. Anyone who feels they like to be part of the team should either call at the Heritage Centre during opening hours, 11 ‘til 3 in the winter and 10 ‘til 3 in summer, Thursday through to Sunday, email email@example.com or by ‘phoning 0191 581 8904.