Photographs of lifeboats dating from the turn of the 20th Century are the centrepiece of a new RNLI exhibition that will be staged at Poole Museum, Dorset, between Jan 26 and Apr 22 next year.
The RNLI has received £30,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to preserve and digitise a collection of almost 1,000 glass negatives of the lifeboats from the archive of the famous Beken family, of Cowes, who have been photographing maritime activity off the Isle of Wight for generations.
At the RNLI headquarters at Poole, a team of six volunteers cleaned, scanned and repackaged the fragile glass plates and also carried out research into the histories of individual lifeboats.
A selection of the Beken lifeboat pictures will be shown alongside the glass plate images of current lifeboat stations and crews by Jack Lowe, creator of the Lifeboat Station Project which involves him travelling to all 238 lifeboat stations and producing photographs using the Victorian Wet Plate Collodion process that creates images on glass.
As well as the Lottery Fund, the Beken project has received a gift from Christopher Andreae and The Scorpion Trust.