Events 1866


6 January to 30 January

During January, the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade was formed and received formal recognition by the Board of Trade.

Volunteer Life Brigade for South Shields-A requisition is lying for signature at Messrs. Mackay’s, Market Place, asking the Mayor to call a meeting to consider the propriety of forming a Life Brigade for South Shields.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 6 January 1866




SIR, —We, the Undersigned, request you call a PUBLIC MEETING of the inhabitants of this Borough, to consider the propriety of Forming a


South Shields, January 8,, 1866

(Here follow Forty-three Signatures)

In compliance with the foregoing Requisition, I do hereby convene a PUBLIC MEETING of the Inhabitants of this Borough to be held in the Town Hall on MONDAY FIRST, the 15th of January instant, at Half past Seven o’ clock in the Evening, for the purpose aforesaid.


South Shields, January 11, 1866

Source: North & Shields Daily Gazette 13 January 1866

We are glad observe that the proposal to establish a Volunteer Life Brigade at South Shields has so far progressed that, in compliance with a requisition, the Mayor of the borough has called a public meeting on the subject for Monday evening next. We have no doubt that the scheme will meet, as it well deserves to do, with the enthusiastic approval of the public, but, in order to make it thoroughly successful, the pilots will have to give their invaluable services. They, of all others in the neighbourhood, are best able to grapple with those emergencies that would call the Brigade to action, and from their past history the pilots of South Shields are not the men to withhold their aid when it is required in the cause of the storm-tossed sailor.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 13 January 1866

South Shields Life Brigade

Stimulated to a good work by its neighbours on the north bank of the Tyne, South Shields resolved last night, in public meeting assembled, that it would not be behind in the noble work of assisting to save the life of the shipwrecked sailor. The meeting was not one where commanding eloquence was called into play in order to arouse the interest of the inhabitants in the undertaking which they had met to forward, and there was not to be found within the walls of the Town Hall a large muster of the men of South Shields. The occasion, indeed, was not one where “the gentlemen of England, who sit at home at ease” were very much wanted, but as there was no lack of influential persons to dispose of the necessary formalities the absence of those who may be styled the Honorary Life Brigadesmen was not in any way to be regretted. Around the Hall was distributed the right sort of material out of which to make the sentinels of the storm. Young men who seemed regard their presence in the Town Hall passage an intrusion, hung about the door of the building, and at last made bold to enter; but, very shortly, those fine young fellows, girded with tangible tokens of the hearty wishes entertained by the ladies of the borough for the success of the Volunteer Life Brigade, will take their stand at the river’s mouth, and be eager to confront danger as they were averse to court attention on the night which saw the Brigade called into existence. The necessity for such an organisation is admitted on all hands, and the circumstance that the steady progress of those very improvements which are every year attracting shipping in greater numbers to the Tyne is in itself a source of temporary danger to strangers, ought to form a strong inducement for every influential resident on the river to assist either directly or indirectly in bringing these Life Brigades to the highest point of efficiency. The more perfectly equipped that the river becomes for the saving of life, the less is it likely to suffer in the estimation of those at a distance, who are apt to have their opinions of its capabilities modified by reports of loss of life, into the exact cause of which they are seldom the trouble to enquire. Mr Archibald Stevenson—one of the mast enthusiastic promoters of the Brigade—stated the meeting that very little money would be required to get the brigade into working order, and, an organization of volunteers, the demands upon its funds ought to be very light; but still money is power in all such bodies, and the fuller the purse the greater the likelihood of efficiency being secured in their operations. We have no doubt Mr Stevenson would be glad to find that the Brigade was likely to encumbered with the care of spare cash, and on a river like the Tyne, whose income is increasing at rate beyond all anticipation, there ought to be no lack of money, as there certainly will be none of men, to secure the permanency of the Life Brigade at each of the harbour towns.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 16 January1866

A Volunteer Life Brigade for South Shields

A public meeting, called by the Mayor in accordance with an influentially signed requisition, was held in the Town Hall, South Shields, last night, for the purpose of considering the propriety of forming a volunteer life brigade for South Shields. There was a good attendance, and among those present were the Mayor, in the chair, Robert Ingham. Esq., M.P.; Alderman James; Thomas Salmon, Esq.; Messrs A. Stevenson, S. Malcolm, George Lyall, Joseph Crisp, Luke Mackey, Councillor Rennoldson, Dr Denham, Dr Stokoe, - Wright, &c., &c.

The Mayor in opening the meeting said; In compliance with the requisition which was presented me I called the present meeting. I will just read the requisition, it explains the object of our meeting:- “To the worshipful the Mayor of South  Shields. Sir, —We, the undersigned, request you to call a public meeting of the inhabitants of this borough, to consider the propriety of forming a Volunteer Life Brigade South Shields, January 8th, 1866.” I think there can only be one opinion as to the desirability and the necessity of forming such a brigade, and I am sure that the town which originated the lifeboat will not be slow in adopting any further  facilities or plans that may be suggested for the preservation of life from shipwreck (Hear, hear.) The necessity of forming a life brigade in this town is increased by the present position of the entrance to the harbour, and its transition state, in consequence of the erection of piers. Formerly, the danger to vessels entering the harbour was what was called the Herd Sand, but now in consequence of the south pier, the greatest danger lies in the vessels stranding on the foundation stones of the Pier and this renders it necessary that we should make an addition to our present means of saving life in such cases, the lifeboat—which I may say is most efficiently managed by the noble and daring set men in the kingdom—(cheers) -the South Shields pilots. There are occasions however, when the lifeboat cannot assist vessels in distress and to meet such cases we have the rocket system, at present managed by the coastguardsmen and the life-brigade, is intended to aid their efforts and render rocket system thoroughly efficient (Applause). As I have said before, there can only one opinion as to the necessity of such a brigade. I will not detain you with any further remarks, but simply call upon Ald. James to move the first resolution. (Applause.)

Ald. James said: I have great pleasure in moving the first resolution :—“ That under any circumstances the establishment of a Volunteer Life Brigade at South Shields, with all its life-preserving and philanthropic objects, would be most useful and desirable, and it is the more so now when the dangers of shipwreck arising from the transition state which the harbour entrance is of necessity undergoing, by the piers and other judicious improvements now being proceeded with, call specially for the services of such a brigade.”  I am sure this movement, for the establishment of a life brigade, is a credit to those who have brought it forward. (Hear, hear.) The saving of life is only doing to others what we would like to be done to ourselves under similar circumstances. During these last few years since the erection of the piers has been commenced there have been several vessels lost on the outer end of the south pier, and the lifeboat has not always been able to get near to them to save the crews, which we might have done by the rocket apparatus had we had a suitable place to fire the rocket from. Such a place has only been erected during the last few months in that staging which is being erected at the outer end of the pier, and is raised considerably above the level of the pier. It furnishes a very good place from which to fire a rocket over any vessel that may be trapped on the stones which are laid down for the foundation of the pier. (Applause.) Persons who know the port will endeavour to keep off these, knowing that the stones are there, but strangers who have not that knowledge will endeavour to keep as close to the land as they can and they consequently get trapped on the stones. That will be the case until the pier is completed. The lifeboat, I am satisfied will in most cases be able to save the lives of the crews of such vessels better than could done by the rocket apparatus, but there might be cases where the lifeboat could not reach the vessel, and that would be the chance for the life brigade, and if such a brigade can save even one life in the course of the twelve months I think their labour will be repaid. (Applause.) I shall be most happy to render any assistance I can to the brigade, though I am sure there are many young men in the town who will be glad to accept the office of forming the brigade, and I have no doubt there will be no difficulty in getting a sufficient number to join it. (Applause.) I have, therefore, great pleasure moving the resolution I have just read. (Applause.)

Mr Ingham said: I have great pleasure indeed in seconding the resolution, and I do so with a sincere feeling of gratitude towards those gentlemen in this town who have taken a prominent part in calling this meeting together, and in making the preparations for the formation of the life brigade. I also feel, as I am sure we all do, that we are under a great obligation to our friends on the other side of the water, who have already, by the establishment of such brigade, shown how practicable and serviceable it is. (Hear, hear, and applause. ) It would be idle in me attempt to add anything to what has been already said by the Mayor and Alderman James. I am sorry to say that my position and frequent absence will prevent my taking an active part in the movement, and that deepens my obligation to those who are now bringing this matter forward. I do think that no place can more appropriately take this movement than South Shields, situated as it is at the mouth of the river Tyne, and where the first great enterprise undertaken for the rescue life from shipwreck by means of the lifeboat —(applause)—now that improvements have been made on other apparatus introduced for the same purpose, I think it is quite appropriate that we should take a prominent place in forming such a supplementary establishment to the lifeboat as a Volunteer Life Brigade would be. (Applause.)

The resolution was then put to the meeting and agreed unanimously.

Dr Stokoe, in moving the second resolution, said, after the remarks we have already listened to, I think it is quite unnecessary for me to say anything in submitting the resolution which I beg to propose, and which is as follows:- “ That a volunteer life brigade be and is hereby formed and established for and at South Shields, upon such principle, with such members and officers, and with such rules and regulations for its organization, management, and guidance as shall be determined upon, fixed, and drawn up, with the approval of the Board Trade, by a committee now to be appointed." I only regret that have been far behind our excellent neighbours in North Shields in forming such corps. We all attach due importance to the lifeboat, and I may say I was very much pleased the other day to read the remark made by a French captain who had been cast in a fog on our shores, and who, when asked how he knew that he on the English coast, said he knew it by the way the lifeboat came out. (Applause.) Such a remark confirms and heightens all our sympathies with the lifeboat men of South Shields, and although the majority them have other duties to attend to and they cannot all be expected to join the volunteer life brigade, still I hope our friends the pilots will assist this movement as much they possibly can. (Applause.) I have much pleasure moving the resolution.

Mr Joseph Crisp said I have great pleasure in seconding the resolution, and I am just anxious to say that I should like to be put down as a working member of the life brigade. (Applause.) Being the son of a sailor I deem it my duty to lend all the assistance in my power to a movement for saving the lives of sailors. (Applause.)

The resolution was then put to the meeting and carried unanimously.

Mr Luke Mackey then moved the third resolution as follows:

“That such committee shall consist of Messrs James, T. Pike. W. Cay, E. Maxwell, Robert Blair, Thomas Tynemouth, Joseph Crisp, Luke Mackey, and J. P. Rennoldson (with power to add to their members), of whom three shall be a quorum for the despatch of business. Messrs A. Stevenson and S. Malcolm to be joint secretaries.”

Mr Richard Stevenson, pilot said: I have great pleasure in seconding the resolution. I think that there has been enough said about a Volunteer Life Brigade without my saying anything, but I will just give you my opinion, and that is, that I think it will be a very good thing. (Applause.) I quite agree with what Ald. James said when he called the pier foundations a trap. I believe that it is a trap, and several ships have been trapped upon them, and the lifeboat has great difficulty in getting at them; and I think the Life Brigade will be the means of saving life when the lifeboat could not do it. (Applause.)

The motion was put to the meeting and carried unanimously.

Mr Arch. Stevenson said; before the meeting separates, I would like to tell you what Mr Hugh Taylor said to me when I told him that we were going to get up a brigade on this side. He said “It is a very good thing indeed; of course I cannot come to assist you on your side, but if ever you want any money, or anything that I can do for you, I will be very glad if you will apply to me.” (Applause.) I may say that I not think very much money wanted, as far as I can make out from what Mr Spence says, the Board of Trade find everything, and the only thing we will have to provide is some sort distinguishing badge. At Tynemouth they have belt which, with buckles and slides, cost 1s 6d, at least that was the cost in the Tynemouth Brigade, but then the North Shields ladies embroidered the letters on the belts, but if that had to done the London military people they will charge four-pence a letter. However, I have no doubt if the men of South Shields do their duty they will see whether the South Shields ladies would embroider the belts for them. (Applause, and Alderman James; I have fear that.)

The Mayor then said; I have to congratulate you on the establishment of this Life Brigade. Our meeting has not been a long one, but we have done a great deal of business and I think that is the best way of doing-talk little and do much. (Applause) I hope that this life brigade will be most useful, and that it will be successful, should the necessity arise, in saving the lives of many sailors who might otherwise perish. (Applause)

Ald. James said that before they separated he thought he ought to give thanks to their worthy Mayor for taking the chair on that occasion (Applause.) He only hoped the volunteer life brigade would be as successful as the lifeboat had been-(applause)-and that had been one of the most successful institutions of the country.  (Cheers)

Mr Ingham begged to second the vote of thanks. The meeting had been most successful, and they all knew how much the success of a meeting depended on the chairman. (Applause)

The Mayor, in replying, said he thanked them sincerely for the way in which they had expressed their thanks. He should always be ready to assist in his official capacityin any good work of a similar nature, or any work that was for the moral or social welfare of the people (Applause.)

The meeting then broke up, but before separating a good number were enrolled as members of the brigade.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 16 January 1866

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade

From the subjoined communication, which been received Archibald Stevenson, Esq., it will be seen that the proposal to establish a Volunteer Life Brigade at South Shields meets with official favour, and has the prospect of immediate assistance from the proper quarter:—
“Board of Trade,
“Surveyor General's Office,
“5 India Avenue, St.
“London, E.C. Jan. 25, 1866.

“Dear Sir,—l have made year letter to me respecting the life Brigade an official one. You need, therefore, do nothing more. You will have ample from the Board of Trade, gladly accepting the services of the Life Brigade. I suppose you will form it (at least for the present) like the Tynemouth Brigade, adapting similar rules. The Inspecting Commander at Sunderland will be directed to communicate with you and Mr Malcolm with a view to commencing drills, &c., as soon as possible; and wishing your Corps every success, I am, yours very faithfully,

“R. Robertson”

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 29 January 1866

Shields Volunteer Life Brigade. — At a meeting of the committee, held last night, in the Mechanics' Institute. The following letter, addressed to the honorary secretaries was read:— “Board of Trade, Whitehall, 30th January, 1866. Gentlemen, —I am directed by the Board of Trade to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 18th instant, and in reply I am to inform you that this Board will be glad to accept the services of the Volunteer Life Brigade at South Shields, on their adopting, temporarily, the present rules of the Tynemouth Brigade, a copy of which is inclosed. l am further to inform you that general rules for the formation of life brigades are under the consideration of this Board.—l am, gentlemen, your obedient servant, J. Emerson Tennant."

It was agreed that subscriptions be collected by the committee, and that the first meeting for drill be held Saturday next, at the South Pier, at three o'clock the afternoon, when several rockets will be fired. Upwards of 100 men have already been enrolled.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 13 February 1866



THE FIRST DRILL will take place at 3 o’clock on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 17th instant, at the South Pier, when Members, and those intending to join are requested to be present. Several Rockets will be fired.

Hon. Sec.

Source: North & South Shields Gazette 13 February 1866

17 February

The first drill took place.

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade

The South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade may now be looked upon as having fairly commenced its existence, and on both sides of the Tyne the organisation for saving life in the event of a shipwreck is now complete. We have long had the lifeboat service in a state of readiness and before long the same may be said of the Life Brigades on both sides- of the Tynemouth Brigade it is true already, and there is little fear that the South Shields corps will be far behind. Since the public meeting held in the South Shields Town Hall, all the necessary steps have been taken for the official recognition of the corps, and new members have been enrolled till the list now numbers about 140 in all, about in all, and of these it would be safe to say that most of them will be found at their posts when wanted. The first drill took place on the South Pier on Saturday afternoon, and was witnessed by a large concourse of spectators amongst whom was large number of ladies. We also noticed amongst the gentlemen present, Ald. James, the Rev. Mr Anstiss, North Shields; the Rev. J. G. Murray, South Shields; the Rev. Mr Kinnaird, the Rev. J. Whitelaw, Mr H. A. Adamson, North Shields; Mr H. E. P. Adamson, North Shields; Messrs M. Cay, Sen. Joseph Crisp, J. Blialds, Richardson, Rigby, Dr Stokoe, &c., &c. The drill was under the superintendence of Mr Bryne the Coastguard Tynemouth, assisted by Mr S. Malcolm, hon sec., of the corps. Proceedings were commenced by having the corps drawn up in line two deep, then they were numbered off into sections, and their respective duties assigned to them. For the purpose of the drill, one of the large travailing cranes of the commissioners was assumed to represent a ship on shore, and five men were sent off get on the top of it to represent the distressed crew. The rocket apparatus was then got out, and a rocket fired, the line from which was got on the top of the crane and then the hawser whip line cradle drawn to it and made fast, and one of the shipwrecked mariners was drawn ashore in the cradle, amid a good deal cheering and laughter by the lookers on. The work was goes through twice, after which the apparatus was safely housed, and the practice closed by the members again forming line, and the roll over, to ascertain bow many of the members were entitled to the 2s per man, now awarded by the Board of Trade to those attending drill, a fact which will very likely have a little influence upon the attendance of the members. The next drill is appointed to take place in a fortnight.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette19 February 1866

22 February

The “Times” published an article on the growth of the life brigade movement and the “Shields Daily Gazette” featured a copy of the article:

Life Brigades

The Board of Trade, according to a memorandum published, have determined upon a general enrolment of volunteer life brigades throughout the country, upon the model of the corps established at Tynemouth last spring. The latter is now a most effective brigade. The brigades about to be enrolled will be commanded by officers of the Coastguard or Customs, or officers specially appointed to that duty. The Board will supply the rocket apparatus, cost, &c., and, when necessary, will erect sheds to keep the apparatus in. The corps will have to be exercised with the apparatus once a quarter at least, in the presence of the appointed officer, and the apparatus must be open at all times for the inspection of the Surveyor-General, or the officers of the Board of Trade, Coastguard, or Customs; and it must be used on all occasions in accordance with the printed instructions of the Board. A report, also, in a prescribed form, must sent the Board of Trade on the 30th of June in each year, showing the nominal strength of the brigade company, the attendance at exercise, wrecks. &c., in localities upon the coast. When it would be found impossible to form a brigade exclusively of seafaring men, it is proposed to enrol volunteers from among labourers, long-shore men, and others of the district, and pay them the rate of each man every time the apparatus is used. It is also proposed to pay members of brigades and companies |from 2s 6d to £1 per man at shipwrecks, according to the nature and extent of the services rendered. The life brigade movement is making satisfactory progress on the north-eastern coast. The Tynemouth, Cullercoats and Newbiggen brigades are in a thoroughly efficient condition. The South Shields Brigade had their first practice on Saturday, and they had a most satisfactory muster. Brigades are about to be established at Whitby and some of the other ports on the Yorkshire coast. — Times

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 23 February 1866

24 February

The “Gazette” follows on with further details of the growth of life brigades and the second drill takes place.


Drill at South Pier TO-MORROW AFTERNOON, at Five o’clock. Committee will meet after.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: North & South Shields Gazette 23 February 1866

The members of the Volunteer Life Brigades at Shields have now the satisfaction of knowing that their efforts have been highly appreciated by the Government that the Board of Trade have issued a memorandum with the view of securing the establishment of similar organisations along the coast. It is proposed pay members of those brigades according a scale prepared by the authorities, and, that being the case, the Board, as a matter of course, will require to have something to say in their management. The difficulty which would be experienced at many parts of the coast in getting men to join the brigades will thus be got over to some extent, but as the services the members will in that case be a clear matter of bargain, the character the force will be somewhat altered. It is satisfactory, however, to think that there will then be help at hand for the shipwrecked in quarters where there is little chance of their meeting with it at present; and whether the labour is one of love or of hire is of comparatively little moment. The second drill of the South Shields Brigade takes place this afternoon, when there will no doubt be a repetition of the lively turn-out that was witnessed this day week. `

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 24 February 1866

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade - The members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade assembled on the South Pier for drill on Saturday afternoon. There was a good muster, and the usual rocket practice was gone through.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 26 February 1866


1 March

The wreck of the Hygeo was the first occasion on which the Brigade was called out. The crew were rescued by the lifeboat.

5 March

A letter to the “Gazette” brings to public attention a problem arising from the firing of the signal guns:

The following letter from Mr Byrne, of the coastguard, throws light upon the recent gun-firing, which much annoyed the members of the South Shields Life Brigade ;—“Tynemouth. 4th March, 1866— Sir, with reference to the firing of the guns on the 27th ult. I beg to inform you that the guns were fired on that occasion by request of the committee of the Tynemouth Life Brigade. I had nothing whatever to do with it, except to allow it to be done, but it appears I bare all the blame for disturbing the volunteers on this occasion. With reference three guns for the South Shields Life Brigade I quite agree with you.—

l am. Sir, your most obedient servant, L. Byrne, chief officer

S. Malcolm, Esq., South Shields.''

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 5 March 1866

10 March

Drill takes place.

Shields Volunteer Life Brigade

DRILL at the SOUTH PIER TOMORROW AFTERNOON, at Half past Two O'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 9 March 1866

24 March

Drill takes place.

Shields Volunteer Life Brigade

PIER on SATURDAY at 3 p. m.

S. Malcolm
Hon. Sec. 9 Charlotte Terrace, March 22 1866

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 23 March 1866


2 April

Wreck of the Tenterden, at which the Shields’ Brigade was the first volunteer brigade to save life from a shipwreck. This was later commented on by the “Gazette”


So the offspring has beaten the parent in the career of usefulness; and South, not North, Shields can boast of having saved the lives of shipwrecked crew by means of its Volunteer life Brigade It is but natural that there should be a little chagrin on the part of the older corps at such a result; but we are sure that it would only be a momentary feeling, and would give place to one of gratification that they had been the means of setting on foot an organisation which has proved its efficiency in the hour of need, and that it will only stimulate them to renewed efforts to say, using the words the Mayor of Tynemouth, “ditto” to South Shields.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 7 April 1866

7 April

The Brigade was inspected by Captain Kirby of the Board of Trade. The "Gazette" includes notices of the inspection and a description of the event.

Shields Volunteer Life Brigade

Full muster on South Pier, at 8 o’clock TO MORROW AFTERNOON, meet the INSPECTING-OFFICER

Hon. Sec

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade.— It will be seen by our advertising columns that the members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade will meet for drill tomorrow afternoon, on the South Pier at 3 o’clock, when Capt, Kirby, R.N., inspecting-officer, is expected to be present. The public will have a practical illustration of the utility of the apparatus as the members intend effecting communication with the Tenterden, now lying stranded on the sands to the southward of the pier. It would be well for all seafaring men to attend these practices in order to make themselves conversant with the use of the apparatus, so that, should they ever require its services, they will not find themselves ignorant of its working, which is too often the case.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 6 April1866

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade.— The members of this corps mustered at the South Shields Pier on Saturday, for inspection by Captain Kirby, R. N. The weather was not very promising, but still there were a large number of spectators. The Volunteers having been told off into divisions, they marched down to the beach, carrying their apparatus, and two rockets were fired. In the first case the staff broke, and the rocket fell short, but the second was successful in carrying the line over the stranded brig Tenterden, on board of which a number of Volunteers had been sent to represent a shipwrecked crew. They soon had the whip-line on board, and then the hawser was hauled out to them and tightened, a triangle being used to give the shore-end extra elevation. The distance from the place of firing the ship was about 150 yards. The shipwrecked crew were then safely got ashore by the breeches buoy, and the drill brought to a close. After the men had been again mustered and the roll called, Captain Kirby said that he was very much satisfied with the progress they evinced in their drill; a few more lessons and they would be all right. He had great pleasure in congratulating them on having saved the lives of the crew of the Tenterden, and they were the first of the brigades that had saved a ship’s crew. The proceedings were terminated by three cheers for the captain.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 9 April1866

21 April

Drill takes place.

Shields Volunteer Life Brigade
Assemble for drill tomorrow AFTERNOON (Saturday) Three o’clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.
Source: Shields Daily Gazette 20 April 1866

30 April

The provisional committee met


The provisional committee met last night, in the Mechanic’s Committee Room, Mr Ald. James presiding, for the purpose of examining the voting papers for the election of 4 captains and 12 committee men. After a very careful scrutiny, it was found that the choice of the members had fallen upon the following: - Captains – Messrs Wm. Cay, Mathew Cay, jun., Stephen Cottew, and William Wright. Committee – Messrs Archibald Stevenson, J. Crisp, R. Blair (pilot), T. Tynemouth (pilot), T. A. Wilson, Joseph Smith, J.P. Rennoldson, S. Malcolm, George Stokoe, Luke Mackey, Geo. Smith, and Charles Pearson.

Source: Shields Gazette 1 May 1866


10 May

An article in the “Gazette” concerning the payment of volunteers. This matter is to become an issue for the Brigade.

Shields Volunteer Life Brigade.— The Board of Trade has announced to the secretary that each of the members of this corps, who took part in saving the crew of the Tenterden, wrecked on the Herd Sands, is  to be paid 2s 6d for such service, in terms of the Board of Trade regulations. The secretary has the money ready for those entitled to it.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 10 May 1866


22 June

The Brigade was inspected by Captain Robertson of the Board of Trade. The "Gazette" includes notices of the inspection and a description of the event.

We understand that Captain Robertson, R. N., Surveyor-General to the Board Trade, intends visiting the Tyne to the course of day or two, and that will officially inspect the various Volunteer Life Brigades in this district, the members of which, it to be hoped, will muster .in full force to meet him.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 20 June 1866

Shields Volunteer Life Brigade

MEMBERS will assemble for DRILL TOMORROW NIGHT (FRIDAY) at half past six o’clock

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 21 June 1866

will meet at the SOUTH PIER, at 6.30, THIS EVENING, and proceed by Special Steamer to Tynemouth, to be inspected by CAPT. ROBERTSON. A large muster is expected.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 22 June 1866

Inspection of the Tyne Volunteer Life Brigades

Captain Robertson, of the Board of Trade, being at present engaged on his annual tour inspecting the rocket apparatus along the coast, visited Cullercoats yesterday afternoon to witness the drill of the Volunteer Life Brigade stationed there. The Captain was accompanied by Captain Bateman, of the coastguard, and large  number of the members of the brigade turned out meet them. One shot was fired successfully the men, and at the conclusion of the drill Captain Robertson complimented the brigade on their efficiency.
In the evening the Captain visited Tynemouth, where also there was an excellent muter the brigades belonging to Tynemouth and South Shields. The Tynemouth men met on the Spanish Battery at seven o'clock, to the number of about eighty, while the Sooth Shields man met on the South Pier, to the number of between forty-five and fifty, and were rowed across the river in boats to the Spanish Battery. The evening was beautifully fine, and there was a large attendance of spectators to witness the inspection. Amongst those on the battery there were Captain Robertson. R.N.; Captain Bateman, R.N., the new commander of the coastguard; Captain Heard, R.N.; the Mayor of Tynemouth; Ald. J. F. Spence; Ald. Joseph Spence; Archbold Stevenson, Esq.; Mr Horatio Adamson; Mons, de Mean; Mr Adamson, of Cullercoats; Mr C. Greenhow, shipping master; the Collectors of Customs at North and South Shields; the Rev. B. Hicks; the Rev. J. Anstiss; Messrs F. C. Marshall, G. Jobling, K. Millburn, and Lieutenant May, of the Castor. The Tynemouth brigade threw a shot over the North Pier first, and effected their work in a very successful manner. The hawser and lines were then cleared sway, and the South Shields Brigade occupied the ground. They were equally successful in throwing their rocket, and concluded their operations in the same amount of time as the Tynemouth Brigade occupied in theirs. This result is very creditable to the South Shields men, considering that their corps has only been recently formed, and that they have never thrown their hawser over water before. The rockets used on both occasions were Dennett's nine-pounders, and both brigades went through their movements under the command of Mr Byrne, of the coastguard. At the conclusion of the inspection the brigades wen drawn up the Spanish Buttery, and Capt. Robertson addressed them to the following effect:—ln speaking first to the Tynemouth corps, he said that on a former occasion he told them how gratified he was, not only at the formation of the brigade, but at the manner in which they performed their exercises, and they had done equally well to-day, if not better; in fact, he could not speak to well of them. In regard to the South Shields men, thought they did equally well, remarking that he could not discover any difference between the brigades, both having conducted themselves most admirably. He had seen a good deal of rocket practice on the coasts of England, and he could safely say that the drill he had witnessed that day was not behind any in efficiency. At Cullercoats, where he had been that afternoon, they also did remarkably well, and it was perfectly astonishing to see body of men brought together so recently, as they all were on that coast, acting so efficiently. He only trusted that the movement would be carried out throughout the whole of the United Kingdom, and he was quite sure he was expressing the sentiments of the Board of Trade when he said they would receive every encouragement from that Board. Such a movement was an honour to the country, and he that Tynemouth, South Shields, Cullercoats, and Newbiggin, deserved credit for the example they had set to the kingdom. (Applause.) In conclusion, he hoped that when they met each other again they would acquit themselves as well as they had done to-day and would be satisfied.

After giving three cheers for Captain Robertson and Captain Bateman the brigades were dismissed. Captain Robertson intends to inspect the brigade at Newbiggin this afternoon.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 23 June 1866

30 June

An article in the “Gazette” starts the campaign for a “station-house”

It is impossible to witness the gathering of the Volunteer Life Brigade at Tynemouth the other evening without feeling that their organization formed an excellent illustration of how good often springs out off evil, and that it was some compensation for the sad scenes attendant on the wreck of the Stanley to think that so far as human skill can be effectual at such times their recurrence has been provided against. There is one matter, however, in reference to the South Shields corps, which is deserving of attention and of which nothing is heard —the erection of a station-house at the South Pier, in which the members can meet in winter evenings when the sky is dark and threatening and the heavy breakers rolling in with a stiff easterly gale, indicating that there is danger on the coast. The Tynemouth Brigade have such a place, and if their brethren on the South side are to be similarly favoured the sooner the work is set about the better.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30 June 1866



10 August

Drill takes place.

Shields Volunteer Life Brigade

Members will assemble for drill tomorrow (Friday) evening at 7 o' clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 9 August 1866


1 September

The first acknowledgement of many donations to the Brigade indicating a large amount of public support.

Mr T. Wilson, one the acting committee of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, begs to acknowledge donation of one sovereign for the funds of the brigade, from the Rev. R. Green, of Westoe.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 1 September 1866

6 September

Drill takes place.
Shields Volunteer Life Brigade
MEMBERS will Assemble for ROCKET PRACTICE To-Morrow (Thursday), at 6.30 p.m.

S. Malcolm, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 5 September 1866



16 November

A severe gale causes problems.The Brigade was called out and rescued the crew of the Blossom. The Sovereign, Scotia and two Hopper Barges were also caught up in the gale..

17 November

The “Gazette" publishes another request for accommodation for the Brigade.

The South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade was ready for any sort work that might have been demanded of it during last night's gale, and the alacrity with which the members came up to the scene of danger was most gratifying. The conviction, however, was very general amongst those who mustered that the signal gun is of comparatively little use, and that to perform the duty of the brigade efficiently there ought to be a lookout cabin erected for those on duty, and arrangements made for close and continuous watching during the prevalence of storm. There cannot, we should think, be two opinions upon such a subject, and the same amount of public spirit which called the brigade into existence will not likely see it crippled for want of so small a matter as a look-out cabin. Winter has already set in upon us in downright earnest, and without further delay the gentlemen whom the volunteers have chosen to administer their affairs see to should to this important addition being made to the equipment of the brigade.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 17 November 1866

17 November

A drill took place using one of the wrecks.

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade — The members of this corps again assembled at the South Pier, on Saturday afternoon, in order to go through their usual drill with the rocket apparatus. Additional interest was given to the proceedings, from the fact that the vessel cast on the shore thee previous evening behind the pier still remained intact, and was therefore brought into requisition as an object to fire the rocket line over, instead of one of the large cranes, as is usually the case. On the assembling of the brigade a detachment was sent to the vessel to represent a shipwrecked crew, the remainder being required to work the gear, and establish a communication between the vessel and the shore, which was soon accomplished. The crew were then brought to land, the greatest interest in the proceedings being manifested by a large number of spectators. One of these brought along the hawser was the sailor boy rescued the previous evening from a watery grave. The notice posted in the Market Place and the shipping offices respecting the drill had the effect of drawing, great many sailors, which was very gratifying because, as a rule, they are not very familiar with the way as which the gear worked. Those present would gain an insight into the mode of procedure, and thus be enabled, should the occasion ever occur, to put what they saw into practice.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 19 November 1866