Events 1894


1 January

The Brigade rescued the crew of the Fredrich Olherich.

5 January

The Brigade was on watch due to “boisterous weather”.

Gale and Snowstorm

Reports from all parts of the country testify to the severity of the weather which has been experienced since Wednesday. Tyneside there have been falls snow and hail, and at times the wind has blown with great violence. Last night the weather was of a very boisterous character and a rough sea prevailed on the coast. The Volunteer Life Brigades were on duty.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 5 January 1894

5 January

The monthly drills continued throughout the year.


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 6th of January, at 3 o’clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 5 January 1894

13 January

The Brigade received a substantial legacy.

The will of the late Mrs Perry, of Harton included “to the South Shields Volunteer Life brigade £200.”

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 13 January 1894

24 January

The Annual Dinner took place.


2 February


The next drill will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 3rd of February, at 4 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 February 1894

12 February

An article suggesting better communications between the rescue services was published.

Our Lifeboat Service

The succession of severe gales which has visited our coasts during the present winter has served to call public attention in a marked manner to the question of our life-saving organisations and appliances. We have had much discussion in the press and elsewhere, as to whether those organisations and appliances are as complete and perfect as they can be made, and it is no disparagement to the existing state of things to find a concensus of opinion that improvements can be effected in several directions. A few of these improvements are already in progress. The Board of Trade has commenced the very necessary task of connecting some of the more exposed lightships and lighthouses with life-saving stations by telegraph. The work is unquestionably both difficult and costly, but it is essential in the interests of human life, and we sincerely hope, not only that that portion of it already undertaken will be speedily completed, but also that Mr MUNDELLA and Mr BURT will be able to very largely extend its scope at an early date. To make our chain of life-saving stations complete, all our coastguard and lifeboat stations and every life-brigade house should be connected with each other by telegraph—or preferably by the simpler and readier telephone—in order that the assistance needful in emergency may be obtainable with the least possible delay. We had several painful instances, during the great gale of November, of the misunderstandings and sometimes fatal delays which result from the present haphazard and unsatisfactory system of communication, sometimes by foot or mounted messengers, only occasionally by a roundabout system of telegraphing. The cost of completing this work would no doubt be heavy, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer will hardly be in the mood to welcome additional calls upon his resources at present. But the matter is one of urgent national importance, and a maritime community like ours will certainly not grudge the thousands which will be required to ensure that everything humanly possible shall be done for the preservation of life and property around the British coasts. It is natural that, in the general discussion on our life-saving machinery, the lifeboat service should have come in for its share of criticism—favourable in the main, and wholly friendly, even where defects have been pointed out and insisted upon. It is not our intention to go into the burning question of whether the lifeboat service should be taken out of the hands of the voluntary organisations which have brought it to its present degree of efficiency and placed under the control of a Government department, although we do question strongly whether such a change would be for the better. Our object is rather to inquire in what way the service can be improved and strengthened, whether that service be controlled by purely local organisation, as on the south side of the Tyne, or by the great National Association whose boats are to be found in every nook and corner of our stormbeaten coasts, or whether the Government undertakes the maintenance and supervision of the whole service. We are glad to see that the National Society is endeavouring to improve the service in what we believe to the right direction by pursuing its experiments with steam lifeboats. We believe that it is to the substitution of some form of mechanical propulsion for the antiquated oars and sails that we must look for the future development of the efficiency of our lifeboat service. The advantages inherent in a lifeboat propelled by steam, over one dependent only on the slavish labour of the oar, and the occasional but unreliable assistance of the sail, must be obvious to the least expert of critics. With a steam lifeboat, the great loss of time now frequently involved in transferring the boat overland to a more convenient launching place would prevented, and the rescue service would be performed with greater expedition, precision and success. The experience gained with the first steam lifeboat, stationed, we believe, at Birkenhead, has been so entirely satisfactory that another, to be stationed on one of the most exposed parts of the East Coast, is already in course of construction. In the interests of humanity and of the lifeboat service itself, it is to be sincerely hoped that these will be but the forerunners of a fleet of others which will replace the older and less valuable type right round the coast.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 12 February 1894

28 February

The Brigade continued its patronage of local theatres.

Lessee and Manageress Mrs L. M. SNOWDON
TO-NIGHT (Wednesday). Friday, and Saturday.
Important engagement of Mr Charles Alain's
celebrated Company in


On Thursday, March 1st.


under the presence and patronage the Trustees of the Lifeboat Institution, the Coxwains and Crews of the Lifeboats, and Officers and Members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade. Will be produced


Doors open 7, to commence at 7.30. Prices as usual.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 28 February 1894


2 March


The next drill will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 3rd of March, at 4 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 March 1894

12 March

TO-NIGHT at 7.30. Saturday at 2.30.
Extra Attractions. Novelties. New Artistes.
Expensive engagement for one week only of SIGNOR
PERMANE’S Wonderful Performing Bears.
J. W. CARDOWNIE, Champion All-round dancer of the World.
Master St. CLAIR, Champion Juvenile Scotch Dancer.
Miss PATTA BELLA Queen of Song and Dance.
ENGIST and ORSA, Musical Grotesques,
Mdlle. FREDKKICAS Performing Toy Terriers
TOMASSO ALLEN the Intrepid Horseman.
HAPPY SELBY The Modern Grimaldi

Tomorrow (Tuesday), March 13th., Complimentary benefit to FUNNY LITTLE CRAVEN, Clown and Comedian. For this night only - a Boxing Tournament.

Grand Fashionable Night.

Complimentary Benefit to Mr C. H. REED, Manager, under the patronage and presence the Members the South Shields Life Brigade, The Committee and Members of the South Shields Swimming Club, Lieut. Col. Challoner, Officers and Members of the 5th V.B. Durham Light Infantry, and several Influential Families.

Friday. March 16th, Complimentary Benefit to COMICAL TOM HALL, Clown and Agoust. Special Attractions and Carnival of Fun.

For full particulars of  each event see SPECIAL BILLS

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 12 March 1894

31 March

A visit from the British Dental Association to South Shields included the Brigade House.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 April 1894


5 April

The funeral of William Mofitt, a member of the Brigade, took place,

Funeral of a South Shields Free Gardener. —The remains of the late Mr Wm. Mofitt, who for 28 years was secretary for the local branch of the Ancient Order of Free Gardeners, were interred yesterday at Harton Cemetery. Mr Moffitt's work amongst the Free Gardeners was not confined to South Shields, for in the year 1880 he was the recipient of a splendid gold watch from the Northumberland district for his diligent and intelligent efforts as secretary for the district for a period of 10 years. After the ordinary funeral service was read by Mr Pilling, the chaplain of the Free Gardeners read the very beautiful and impressive burial service of that order. Wreaths were sent and brought by many friends and relatives, amongst which was one from Mr and Mrs J. W. Travis, of Chester; Mr and Mrs Brown, of Liverpool; Mr and Mrs Hornsby, and Mr and Mrs Major. Mr Moffitt had for many years been a member of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, and had one of the jerseys of the Brigade on when he died. Mr Moffitt lived a very useful though quiet life, and was, highly respected by all who knew him.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 5 April 1894

7 April


The next drill will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 7th of April, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 5 April 1894

28 April


A SPECIAL MEETING of all Ambulance Members and intending members will be held in the Brigade House on Tuesday first, May 1st, at 8 p.m. to consider formation of New Class, New Ambulance Brigade, Drill etc.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 28 April 1894


3 May


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 5th of May, at 6 o'clock. S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 May 1894

7 May

The lifeboat “Tyne” was moved to a permanent memorial.

The Famous Old Lifeboat “Tyne”
A Remarkable Career
Her Last resting Place

Final arrangements have been made for the removal to day of this renowned craft from her humble abode at the Coble Landing, South Shields, to the more pretentious home provided at the pier entrance for her reception. An excellent ornamental shelter has been erected by the Corporation immediately in front of the restaurant, and where she will be fit companionship for the Wouldhave and Greathead monument, and doubtless prove an object of rare interest to visitors to the seaside. Perhaps it would be fitting at this time to refer briefly to a few historic and heroic incidents of her career.

The famous lifeboat Tyne has unparalleled history of heroic achievement in the saving of life from shipwreck. By careful computation the record of her service is given as 1,028 lives rescued, and a performance of duty extending over half a century. The Tyne was the record boat built for the service of this port. The first lifeboat, which was known only as “the original," commenced her career in 1790, and while endeavouring to rescue the crew of the brig Glatton in 1830, she was driven upon the rocks and split in two. Fortunately, the melancholy occurrence was unattended by loss of life. The Tyne was built in 1833 to succeed this craft. She was the gift Mr Thomas Forrest, who in his day was a wealthy and influential townsman, and her builders were Messrs John Oliver and Sons, whose premises were located at the Lawe, the portion of land afterwards occupied by Messrs Readhead’s old fitting shops.

Naturally enough many an exciting incident can be related of the boat's career. On one occasion she was taken overland to rescue the crew of a vessel that had gone ashore down the coast. That was in the winter of 1845. A terrific storm was prevalent and a brig, which afterwards proved to the Electra, owned and commanded by Mr Blues, father Mr T. J, Blues of this town, was sighted with distress signals flying. The vessel was gradually being cast shorewards in the direction of Cullercoats or Whitley, and it was decided by the South Shields pilots to follow her with their boat along the coast line. Accordingly the Tyne was rowed across the narrows and on the north side was mounted on a carriage into which four Corporation horses were yoked. The journey, however, was not accomplished without considerable difficulty and hardship. The lifeboat carriage in those days was a crude affair, and altogether ill adapted tor long travelling, and the heat arising from the friction by the rapid rate at which the vehicle travelled was so intense as to set fire to a portion of the wooden spokes, and partially damage the side the lifeboat itself. The task was encompassed by difficulties of another kind. There was practically no carriage road for a large portion the distance, and her crew had their work set to bear her safely over ditches and hedges, while gates and all other barriers of the kind were unhesitatingly razed to the ground. The Electra by this time had stranded Hartley Bates, beyond Whitley, and the lifeboat was eventually brought to the water side as close as possible to the scene of the disaster. Among the crew who manned her were Jacob Harrison and Joseph Smith, coxswains, and Andrew Harrison, who afterwards filled that post. After the lifeboat was launched she was struck by a heavy sea and four of the men were washed out. Three of these clutched Andrew Harrison who fortunately had a firm hold of a line, and they succeeded in clinging to their comrade until they were rescued. The fourth man was carried away by the sea, having only an oar to support him, and in this condition he drove north for half a mile or more beyond the boat. Among the crowd which had gathered the sands was a gentleman on horseback. This gentleman proceeded along the beach as the fortunate lifeboatman drifted, and several times rode into the surf, and attempted to reach the poor fellow in the water by lashing his whip towards him. At last his efforts were successful and the lifeboatman was saved, though in a condition of extreme exhaustion. All efforts to get the boat through the surf proved unavailable, but the crew of the Electra managed to leave in their own craft, and though their escape was miraculous they managed to cast up on the beach and were dragged ashore by the pilots. One of their number, a youth, died the same day from the effects of the exposure.

The Tyne has witnessed two distinct innovations in the construction of the lifeboat. The original means adopted for clearing the boat of water was the very primitive one of bailing her out with leather buckets. This gave place to the platform principle. the Electra incident, an improved self-discharging arrangement was introduced, which consisted of fitting her a series of air tight compartments underneath the platform, a system which is now universally adopted.

The last service rendered by the Tyne was in 1882. On the 5th of December of that year the Norwegian brig Olaf Kyrre came ashore on the Herd Sands in a fearful storm. The Life Brigade for once failed to reach the shipwrecked men, but not from any fault of theirs. They sent three lines over the rigging without loss of time. Two of them the men failed to secure, and the third was broken by the waves, and it was little wonder the devoted workers on shore should conclude that there was no living thing on board the ill-fated craft. The true condition affairs was only discovered by the piteous cries of the men, which were heard on shore above the roar of the storm. It was evident that the men were ignorant of the use of the apparatus, and the cry for the lifeboat was raised. The Tyne then did its duty, and manned by sixteen brave pilots the tiny craft was borne through the “yeasty waves" and after battling with the elements for more than an hour succeeded in reaching the vessel and rescued all on board. On the following day she was again called into requisition and saved two men from the schooner Flid at the same place. This was the last occasion she was called out and was the crowning of a brilliant record of fifty years' active service, which has added lustre to the reputation of a borough which cradled and developed the invention of the lifeboat.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 7 May 1894


1 June


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 2nd of June, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 1 June 1894


5 July

The Annual Meeting took place.


THE ANNUAL MEETING will be held in the Watch House on Wednesday next. July 4th. 1894, at 7.30 p.m.

7 July


THE NEXT DRILL will take place this (Saturday) Afternoon, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 7 July 1894

21 July

The Brigade took part in an Ambulance Review at Newcastle.

Ambulance Review at Newcastle

On Saturday an ambulance review in connection with the Northern Counties Corps of the St. John Ambulance Association was held in the Bull Park Recreation Grounds, Newcastle. Rain fell heavily, with only brief periods of cessation, and, as a consequence, the attendance was small. The following corps were present, and were represented according to the numbers given: Central and Borough Gardens (railway men), 50; Gateshead and Heaton (railway men), 50; Elswick Works 70; Elswick Colliery, 60; Walker Shipyard, 50 ; Newsham Colliery,40; South Shields (Life Brigade and others), 50; Shildon (miners and railway men), 40. After general muster at the Central Railway Station the men marched to the ground, the band and boys of the Wellesley Training ship heading the column. Upon reaching the Park, the corps formed up opposite the grand stand and in that position they received the inspecting officer Colonel E. T. Thackeray, C.B., V.C. R.E.) with the general salute. Colonel Thackeray was accompanied the Mayor of Newcastle(Ald. S. Quinn, Lieutenant Crawford officer commanding the2nd. V.B. N. F.), Surgeon-Major Hutton organising commissioner of the St. John Ambulance Association, Dr Clark Newton (instructor the Elswick Works classes, and ex-chairman of the Review Committer), Dr Crease (instructor to the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, Mr Anderson Elswick Colliery, Mr C. W. Harrison (chairman of Review Committee), Mr William Hollings(hon. secretary), Detective Inspector Barratt (North-Eastern Railway),and others. Music was played by the band of the 2nd V.B.N.F. The inspecting officer having passed along the ranks and examined the men, the whole of the companies formed fours and marched past. Subsequently they executed a series of bandage drill and stretcher and then gave illustrations of carrying injured men on the four-handed seat. Other stretcher exercise followed, and then the ,stretcher party marched past. Afterwards a demonstration of the rendering first aid in the underground workings of a colliery was given by members of the Elswick Colliery Ambulance Association. At the close the whole of the corps were drawn up in front of the grandstand. The inspecting officer and the gentlemen afterwards addressed the men.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 23 July 1894.

29 July

The Annual Church Parade took place.


CHURCH PARADE to Seamen's Mission Church, Mill Dam, South Shields, on Sunday, July 29th. 1894. Members will muster in the Watch House at 10 a.m. prompt.

S. Malcolm, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 26 July 1894

Seaman’s Mission, South Shields.—The annual church parade of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade proved a great success. The Brigade marched in uniform, preceded by the boys' band from the Wellesley Training Ship, from the Brigade House to the Seamen's Church, Mill Dam. The sermon was preached by chaplain Rev. F. H. Webb-Peploe, who also spoke of the excellent work done by the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Society. The offertory which was taken up on behalf of this Society, amounted to £5 2s 6d.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 4 August 1894


2 August


NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 4th August, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 August 1894

29 August

Thomas Newby, a deputy captain of the Brigade, rescues a boy from drowning.

Gallant Conduct of a Shieldsman

On Monday about 5 30 p. m. as the workmen’s boat, from Jarrow arrived at Tyne Dock a cry for help was heard, which, it transpired, was from a boy about 12 years  of age  who was struggling in the water. One the passengers, Mr Thos. Newby, of South Shields, who was returning from his day's work, without a moment's hesitation, jumped from the rail of the steamer on to the landing stage and then dived into the water, without having divested himself of any of his heavy clothing. After swimming a distance of some thirty yards, he came up to boy, whom he, after a desperate effort, succeeded in safely getting ashore. On returning to the landing he found that  the river steamer had resumed its journey without waiting for him, and as a consequence had to walk in his wet clothing to his home, 12 John Street, South Shields. Mr Newby's task in rescuing the boy was rendered more difficult than it would have otherwise been by the frantic struggles of the boy, who got one of his rescuer's fingers in his mouth and bit it severely. Mr Newby is a Deputy Captain of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade and a member of the St. John Ambulance Association.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 29 August 1894

30 August

Deputy Captain page was also involved in a rescue.

Another Rescue by a Shields Life Brigadesman

It is a singular coincidence that on Monday, the day on which Deputy-Captain Newby, of the South Shields Life Brigade, saved the life of a child by jumping into the river from a steamer, Deputy-Captain James Page, who is at present staying at Rothesay, in Scotland, was out fishing in the Bay, when he observed a boy fall from a jetty into the sea. Without a moment's consideration, Mr Page dived from his boat, and swam ashore with the boy, whom subsequently restored by treating him under the rules of the St. John Ambulance Association.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30 August 1894

30 August


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 1st September, at 6 o'clock.

By Order of the Committee

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30 August 1894


An article praised the Brigade caretaker for opening the Watch House to the public during showery weather.

12 September

There are many ways doing a kindly act. In all relations of life, if the disposition is there, there are abundant opportunities afforded for the bestowal of small favours. I think that the sturdy caretaker of the Brigade House—l mean Bob Wells, to speak in familiar parlance —is of right sort in that respect. He is always intent on “rescue" work, in winter and summer alike, and though in the warmer season savours less of the thrilling and dangerous yet it is none the less acceptable to those who share in its benefit. I refer to the opening of the House as a place of refuge for visitors at the seaside during showery weather. It was surely only a kindly nature that prompted such an act. There are few sadder spectacles than that a holiday crowd “stranded" on the beach in a downpour of rain. It would be folly to rush to the so-called shelter (?)" and it is too far to trudge to the commodious and picturesque market cross. What, then, are the poor things to do? The problem has been partially, if not effectually solved, by the kind-hearted Wells, and when the pluvial torrents descend there is always a welcome shelter under his hospitable roof for all, or as many can be conveniently accommodated.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 12 September 1894


3 October


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday afternoon, the 6th October, at 4 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 October 1894

6 October

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade Class will commence on Wednesday first, October 10th, at 8 p.m.

Instructor—Dr Crease.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 6 October 1894

15 October

The Brigade were on duty due to stormy weather.

Storm on the Coast

After a spell remarkably fine weather a strong north-easterly wind came away off the Tyne at an early hour yesterday morning, and soon developed into a severe gale. The sea Shields bar was exceedingly rough and at times made a complete breach over the North Pier. During the course of yesterday morning heavy showers of hail prevailed, and the weather was of wintry description. Some hundreds persons made their way towards the South Pier and bank tops to watch the progress of vessels making for the harbour. The New Londoner was discerned making for the Tyne shortly before 12 o'clock, and her progress was watched with keen interest, as the vessel was much tossed about by the tremendous billows which were running. Then next came a schooner seeking shelter. The vessel times appeared if she was going to be engulfed the sea, but she safely crossed the bar and entered the harbour in safety. Several coasting vessels sought refuge in Shields Harbour yesterday. A few schooners which had taken their departure from Sunderland Saturday last, bound north, encountered the gale, and were compelled to run into the Tyne for shelter, the masters reporting very severe weather on the coast. The screw steamer Tay which left Shields bound for Dundee, put back through stress of weather, as did also the sailing ship Purveyor. One steamer which left for Barcelona likewise put back with a strong list, having encountered a strong wind and heavy sea. She is at present moored Smith's Buoys, North Shields. Towards evening the wind and sea increased, and there was every appearance that a stormy night was to experienced. So tempestuous was the weather that several members the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade turned up at the watch house, where strict lookout was kept, but happily their services were not required.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 15 October 1894

The storm was so severe that the mammoth crane was washed off the pier and destroyed.

Severe Storm on the Coast
South Shields
The Pier Crane Carried Away
Exciting Scenes
Narrow Escape of Steamer

There were ominous signs at the latter part of last week that a storm was approaching, and on Saturday it came away with exceptional violence, The wind freshened early in the morning and veered to E.N.E., and throughout the day blew in dangerous squalls, while rain fell in heavy showers at intervals. At the first approach of night the outlook became exceedingly wild and tempestuous, and soon afterwards the wind came away with intensified vigour and blow in fearful gusts. There was no abatement throughout the night and daybreak on Sunday morning revealed a grand spectacle. The elements were raging in their fiercest mood. The atmosphere was keen and clear, and the eye could penetrate over the turbulent waters to an unusually distant horizon. White patches of breaking seas were visible everywhere, giving unmistakable evidence of the violence of the gale raging outside, and all along the coast the waves were breaking with tremendous force, making up an unbroken line of foam as far as could be seen. The scene at the harbour's mouth throughout the entire day was animated and fascinating in the extreme. Tremendous breakers rolled over the bar and spent themselves with relentless fury on the shores, while heavy ground swell surged far into the river and the traffic of the ferries and small craft was greatly impeded. The pier ends were severely buffeted, and suffered material damage. On the South side three heavy waggons, used for carrying large blocks of stone, were washed bodily into the sea, carrying with them in their fall, some the iron stanchions and rails, Much anxiety was felt for the huge mammoth crane on the South Pier end, which was experiencing the full violence the elements, The ponderous machinery was seen to sway every now and again under the weight and velocity of the seas which ever and anon broke over it. It was gradually being released from its foundations and eventually, unable to resist the conflict any longer, it succumbed to a sea more formidable than the rest. The imposing structure leaned over, and for a moment its fastenings checked its fall, but these were torn out of their places and went with the crane into the sea. The incident, which occurred at 9.20 in the morning, was witnessed by crowds of spectators who had already congregated on the piers and bank tops on both sides the harbour, and created intense excitement. Soon afterwards the portions the crane constructed of wood were cast on the beach in pieces, and told the tale that the sea had done its worst. It is said that the crane was upwards of 350 tons in weight, a fact which will afford some adequate of the force and weight of water required to carry it away. The cost of machinery is said to be somewhere about £1,000. It is rather a peculiar coincidence that exactly eleven months that day the crane on the north pier suffered a like fate, and in this, that case, the machinery has been practically destroyed.

From the outbreak of the storm to midnight on Sunday, when the elements had subsided, a continual watch was kept up by the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade. The men mustered on the Saturday under the command of Capt. Jas. Henderson, who was succeeded by Capt. G. R. Potts, the other officers on duty being Capt. W. Buckland and Capt. George Robson, and Messrs Page, Scrafton, Newby, and Thompson, deputy-captains. There was big gathering of members. Fortunately their services were never in request. There was, however, abundance of exciting incidents for sightseers, who came large crowds from Newcastle and intermediate places. During Sunday there were several arrivals of Tyne bound and refuge vessels. The passenger steamer New Londoner arrived from London shortly after four o'clock; and she was preceded by the Leith boat Bernicia, which had been expected that morning, and concerning which some anxiety was felt. She was many hours behind her advertised time, but it afterwards became known that that was lost at Leith, where she had been delayed in the hope that the storm would abate. The progress of both vessels over the bar was watched by many thousands of people.

About four o'clock a small coasting steamer made for the harbour. Soon after rounding the South pier she was borne on the crest of a tremendous sea and sped at a terrific rate through the water, her stern being almost buried in the flying spray as she ploughed her way through it. In this way she careered on for nearly half mile then veered to the north, when it seemed almost inevitable that she would go ashore. She fell into the trough of the sea and was brought up dangerously near the north shore. Her head gradually came round again, and eventually by careful management her crew brought her into her proper course and the harbour was reached in safety, after a most miraculous escape.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 22 October 1894

At Sunderland, a member of the Brigade lost his life during a rescue.

The Gale

The story of the gale of yesterday affords melancholy reading. Happily, so far as can at present be ascertained, the damage to property and loss of life have been exceptionally small, compared with that entailed by other great gales, but it is on the other hand only too probable that the list of casualties, as we have it now, will be supplemented by particulars of other disasters in the course of a few days. One feature shines out conspicuously from the tale of almost every casualty—the heroism and devotion to duty of the Volunteer Life Brigade, whose self-imposed task it is to watch over our coasts in times of danger and succour those in need. The wreck at Tynemouth, happily unattended with any loss of life, will call for stringent inquiry. The failure of the detonators and consequently of the Castor's guns might under other circumstances have led to appalling calamity, and it will become necessary to discover to what cause that failure is to be attributed. The loss of the Fame and the wreck of the crane the South Pier end happily exhaust the tale of disaster, so far as the mouth of the Tyne is concerned, but along the East Coast this morning dawns upon a series of wrecks and casualties. At Sunderland a Life-brigadesman, in the exercise of his duty, fell a victim to the uncontrollable curiosity of the crowd- indeed the whole crew of stranded vessel were almost sacrificed to this criminally thoughtless rush to the front. Only after the lapse of considerable time and the result of frantic exertions against the mob were the brigade enabled to reach a position from which it was possible to render assistance the endangered men, and even then their operations were hindered and impeded by the surging of the spectators. The death of Brigadesman Levis in such a connection is one of the saddest stories of a day which has many sad stories. Surely the control of a crowd of sightseers is not beyond the powers of the Sunderland authorities. There seems to have been serious mismanagement upon the part of police, which will doubt receive the attention it deserves. It is inevitable that yesterday's gale should be compared with the disastrous storm of last November and by comparison should appear of small importance. There is yet no story of the failure of a rocket to reach its goal, none of those instances which crop up from time to time, proving the necessity for carrying the rescuing apparatus on board ship, though it must evident that the work of saving life yesterday would have been vastly facilitated had each vessel carried her own rocket apparatus. With the wind dead on shore, as it is in probably nine cases out of ten, it could not otherwise. How many lives have in the past been sacrificed to the failure of shipowners to appreciate this simple fact it would be impossible to say. The number is colossal enough already, and needs no augmentation from yesterday's experience to prove its importance. In other respects also yesterday's gale bears favourable comparison with that of eleven months ago. We do not yet know, probably, the full extent of the destruction. For instance, as we write no news is to hand of the vessel reported disabled off Souter Point; but making every allowance for these contingencies there is not likely to be either the appalling loss of life, or the tremendous destruction of caused by that hurricane. The area of the later disturbance appears to have been much less extensive than in the former case. Some of the most harrowing tales of disaster, it will be recollected, came in that case from the Bay of Biscay, but there is yet nothing to indicate that yesterday's gale has extended so far. In one respect, however, there was no falling off. The heroism of the rescue agencies, the lifeboatmen, coastguards, and life brigades, was as conspicuous as ever. They were ready as aforetime to risk their lives in the endeavour to save their fellows. The story of coastguardmen HONEY and McCARTHY is as noble as any to be found in the history of shipwreck. At the imminent risk of their lives they swan out to rescue the crew of the stranded vessel Alice Little, going rapidly to pieces off the coast at Newhaven, and in spite of the fury of the gale succeeded in their self-imposed task. It such deeds as these, shedding lustre on the names of many a humble hero, which form a redeeming feature in the terrible story of each recurring storm sea.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 22 October 1894

23 October


Members are requested to meet at the one o'clock train to-morrow (Wednesday) to attend the funeral of the late Life Brigadesman Levis at Sunderland. Full uniform and black dress.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 23 October 1894

30 October


SIR,—Re the deplorable accident Sunderland, a brigadesman getting drowned through spectators getting in the way. Are the S.S.V.L.B. not going to try and prevent a similar occurrence. Why not make every member of the brigade a special constable and give them some authority to force the crowd back. Captains and committee men wake up.—Yours, &c. S.S.V.L.B.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30 October 1894

31 October


THE NEXT DRILL will take place Saturday Afternoon, the 3rd of November, at 4 o'clock.

After the drill a bronze medal and certificate awarded by the Royal Humane Society will be presented to Deputy-Captain Thomas Newby for rescuing a boy from drowning at Tyne Dock Landing Stage in August last.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 31 October 1894


5 November

Deputy Captain Newby received a gallantry award.

Gallant Conduct of a Shieldsman.

On Saturday, on the conclusion of the usual monthly drill of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, the Members and several prominent local residents assembled in the Watch House on the South Pier. The object of the gathering was to present Deputy-Captain Newby with the bronze medal and certificate of the Royal Humane Society, for saving the life of boy near Tyne Dock boat landing in August last. Mr S. Malcolm presided. Amongst those present were Mr M. Cay, J.P., Mr W. D. Stephens, of Newcastle, local honorary secretary of the Royal Humane Society, and the following officers of the Brigade Captains G. R. Potts (in command), George Robson, Walter Buckland, and James Henderson; Deputy-Captains T. Newby, J. Page, G. Scrafton, and J. Thompson.—The chairman recapitulated several cases in which pecuniary rewards, medals and certificates, had been obtained by members of the brigade from the Board of Trade and the Royal Humane Society for gallantry in saving life. He mentioned these cases because he thought they might establish a roll of honour, that was, that they might have the names of all the recipients put up in the brigade house. He then referred to the service rendered by Newby, which was to the effect that about 5 30 p.m. on August 27th,as a river steamer was nearing Tyne Dock, landing, there was a cry of someone being overboard, and then it was seen that a boy about 12 years of age was struggling in the water. Newby, who was a passenger, without divesting himself of his clothes, jumped upon the landing stage and then into the river. He swam about 30 yards to the boy, whom he, after a desperate effort, succeeded in getting ashore. By this time the steamer had left, and Newby had to walk home in his wet clothes. Happily he was none the worse for his brave act, except that one of his fingers had got into the boy's mouth and was severely bitten. These facts he (Mr Malcolm) represented to the Royal Humane Society, and they on October 14th awarded their bronze medal and certificate to Newby. He added that the same day Mr Page, another of their deputy captains, was fishing from a boat at Rothesay, when he saw a boy fall overboard. He dived from the boat and got hold of the boy and took him ashore, where he resuscitated him by means of his ambulance knowledge. Mr Page did not think his services were sufficient to be reported to the Royal Humane Society —Ald. Stephens then addressed the gathering, and spoke very highly of the gallantry of Newby, and the work generally of the Life Brigade, it was a great credit to them that they had been able to save 250 lives from shipwreck, and he knew they were prepared to do as much in the future if their services were required. He then made the presentation. Votes of thanks concluded the proceedings.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 5 November 1894

8 November

The Brigade was praised for its involvement in the ambulance movement.

St. John Ambulance Association, South Shields Centre —A public meeting in connection with the above was held in the Queen Street Hall, South Shields, last night, when an address on ambulance work was delivered by Surgeon-Major Hutton, organising commissioner of the association. The chair was occupied by Mr George Robson, who was supported by Dr. Crease, Mr Purvis (pilot superintendent).Mr R. Gibson, Mr A. Brown, &c., &c., and Messrs Harrison and Page, the secretaries of the centre. There was a large number of ladies and gentlemen present. Surgeon-Major Hutton in the course of most interesting and instructive address on the urgent need of a widespread knowledge of ambulance work, referred to the great impetus given to the movement by the assistance and sympathy of the directors the N.E.R. Company, the committee the Volunteer Life Brigade, and the employers of labour in South Shields, and spoke of the splendid services rendered to the injured in the recent collision at Northallerton. In concluding his address he urged all ambulance pupils to act as missionaries in the cause and to seek to enlist recruits. A vote of thanks to Surgeon-Major Hutton, proposed by Mr Purvis, seconded Mr R. Gibson, and supported by Dr Crease, was carried with acclamation. A similar compliment to the chairman, by Harrison, and seconded by Mr Page, brought the very interesting proceedings to a close.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 8 November 1894


1 December


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday afternoon, the 1st of December at 3.30 o’clock.

S. Malcolm Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30 November 1894

5 December 1894

THE TREASURER of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade begs to acknowledge with thanks the receipt £200 from the executors of the late Mrs Perry of Harton.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 5 December 1894