St Annes’ splendid modern £1.3 million lifeboat house, completed in 2003, offers members of the public a view of the boat, currently Her Majesty The Queen.
It is one of ten modern lifeboat stations by the Cornwall-based practice Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole, who also designed the RNLI College, Poole (2004).
The historical display describes and commemorates the wreck of the Mexico, which resulted in the greatest loss of life in the history of the British lifeboat service on the night of December 9th 1886.
The entire thirteen-man crew of the St Annes lifeboat, Laura Janet, were drowned when it capsized on its way to assist. Fourteen of the sixteen crew-members of the Southport lifeboat, Eliza Fernley, similarly perished when their boat capsized.
All the twelve crew-members of the German-registered Mexico were rescued by the fifteen-man crew of the Lytham lifeboat, Charles Biggs, on their maiden rescue.
The men who died were fishermen, most of them living in varying degrees of poverty. They left sixteen widows and fifty orphans.
As a result, Charles Macara, a Manchester businessman who had taken up residence in St Annes, helped to initiate Lifeboat Saturdays, fundraising events which began in Manchester and Salford in 1891 and rapidly spread to other towns and cities.
The RNLI continues to rely entirely on voluntary donations and bequests to support the volunteer crews who continue to save lives at sea throughout Britain: http://rnli.org/Pages/Default.aspx.