This is picture #35 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.
- This week’s photo is of the old Rocket Brigade building at Whitehaven Harbour, in West Cumbria.
The Rocket Brigade don’t exist anymore, but their old home is still in situ, having been repaired with the intention of remembering their heroics in saving lives off the Cumbria coast.
The Whitehaven Rocket Brigade was formed in 1849 when the first shore-to-ship rescue device was bought for the town. The volunteers, who would support the lifeboatmen, would haul the apparatus on a wagon to where a stricken ship was floundering offshore.
The rockets, carrying ropes, were fired out and once received on board, a much heavier cable could be drawn across, facilitating the use of a breeches-buoy to rescue stranded crew and passengers.
Volunteer Brigades worked closely with local Coastguard officers, providing trained and disciplined teams of volunteers to assist in emergency situations; training was overseen by HM Coastguard. The Volunteer Life Brigades were shore-based organisations, trained in ship-to-shore rescue techniques.