Events 1902


2 January

The monthly drills took place throughout the year


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 4th of January, at 3 30 o’clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 January 1902

27 January

The death of Mr S. Cottew occurred. He was one of the original captains of the Brigade

Death of Mr Stephen Cottew

We regret to record the death of Mr Stephen Cottew, which occurred at his residence, Winchester Street, South Shields, yesterday, at the advanced age of 75. Deceased was a native of South Shields and served his time as a ship surveyor. In later years he became interested in tugboat property, and also very considerably extended his business of ship surveying in which his practical experience and knowledge served him in good stead. He attained to considerable success in this calling. He took a warm and active interest in public affairs. For fourteen years he sat on the South Shields Council as a representative of Westoe Ward, and was a particularly useful man in committee. He was also a member of the Public Libraries Committee, and occupied that position up to the time of his decease. He early threw his energies and active support into the Volunteer Life Brigade movement and was one of the original captains of the local institute. At practices, and, indeed, whenever the brigade was summoned to render succour to vessels in distress, he was during his active connection with the work, a regular attender to his duties. In later years he was elected an honorary captain. He was also connected with the Local Marine Board, in which he sat for a great many years, was one of the four-and-twenty of St. Hilda's Parish, and at one time a member of the 3rd D.V.A. He filled many other public positions at one time or other of his lifetime. The deceased was a man of excellent character and was universally respected in the borough,

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 28 January 1902

29 January


THE MEMBERS are respectfully informed that the Funeral of the late Captain Cottew will take place on Wednesday afternoon, the 29th inst., at 2 o'clock. To meet in Winchester Street at 1 45 Uniform to be worn.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 29 January 1902

30 January

The Annual Dinner took place.


1 February


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 1st of February, at 4 o’clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 31 January 1902


10 March

Mr J. Whale, a pilot, received an award for bravery in relation to the rescue of the crew of the Christiani.

The Bravery of Shields Pilots
A Medal Awarded

At the Golden Lion Hotel, South Shields, last night, a large number of pilots and their friends assembled to do honour to Mr John Whale, on the occasion of his receiving a medal for bravery from the Tynemouth Medal Trust. — The chair was occupied by Ald. T. D. Marshall, who was supported by Ald. J. K. Lawson, J.P., Coun. Whitfield, Coun. Henderson, Supt. John Purvis, Mr K. H. Allen, Capt. Cowans, Mr G. B. Hodgson, Mr C. E. Walton, and Dr Gibbon.

Ald. Lawson, in making the presentation, said that he considered it no mean honour to have been asked to do so. It was to him a special pleasure to present that important and valuable medal to the South Shields pilot, Mr John Whale, for his bravery, devotion, and duty, and for, in conjunction with the other pilots, risking his life in order to save a shipwrecked crew. His association with the pilots dated from the time when the districts now covered with streets were waving cornfields and cottage gardens; at a time when the pilot lads used to jump across the Tyne at the Low Lights. (Laughter.) At that time the fishermen landed their fish at the Herd Sands, and when Andrew Woodhouse built his wooden ships at the Lawe. Later, when South Shields became a large and important town, his association was still continued with the pilots. He was pleased to say that no less than three members of his family had represented the pilots on the South Shields Town Council. First there was his father, the late Ald. Lawson, then his brother Joseph, and then himself. In speaking of the bravery of the South Shields pilots he did not say that they were immaculate. Mr Lawson then went on to relate some of the scenes he himself had witnessed during past years, he made special reference to the occasion when a number of young pilots burst open the doors of the lifeboat house and successfully launched the boat when it was thought impossible to do so, and saving the entire crew of the Olaf Kyrre. He thought that that was one of the most heroic and bravest acts in the annals of this country. After referring to the pilots who had lost their lives whilst attempting rescues, he deplored the fact that there was no monument in South Shields in memory of those who had perished. That was one of the duties which they, as townspeople, had neglected. Mr Lawson concluded by relating the facts which attended the procuring of the medal for Mr Whale. During the gale, he said, which occurred on the 12th November last, several pilots were clustered under the lee of the pilot look-out house, and about 7 p.m. their attention was drawn to a red light entering the harbour. As the light approached the Groyne Lighthouse, it was seen to be in dangerous proximity to the end of the breakwater, and to be driving on to the rocks. The pilots thereupon went down towards the lighthouse, and there found that the Norwegian barque Christiani had struck on the extreme end of the breakwater, and was lying broadside on to the sea. The pilots failed to secure the assistance of the Life Brigade, so oil torches were procured. Mounting the steps of the lighthouse, the pilots were able to discern the position of the crew, who were on the foretopsail yard. The crew were all saved Whale greatly distinguished himself by jumping on board the vessel and assisting several of the crew. He also brought ashore the steward, who was too exhausted to leave the rigging. The work of rescue was very perilous. The speaker then pinned the medal on Mr W Whale's breast, and said that it was not to be looked upon for its intrinsic value, but as an emblem of the admiration and the appreciation of humanity. (Applause.)

Mr John Whale feelingly responded, and said that he would always endeavour to act up to the motto. "Always ready."—Mr G. B. Hodgson proposed the toast " The donor of the medal”, who, he said, was an unknown person. This gentleman, an American, had formed the Tynemouth Medal Trust, and only one medal was allowed to each side of the river’s mouth on each occasion. The pilots, he said, were always there when wanted, and he was sure that there would always be the same ready and prompt response to the call for life-saving work. (Applause.)

Mr John Purvis asked the company to rise and drink to the health of the chairman, Ald. Lawson, and Councillor Whitfield, which was given with musical honours, the three gentlemen named responding in suitable terms.

During the evening harmony was rendered by Captain H. N. Gowans, Mr Chas. E. Walton, Mr J. W. Henderson, Dr. F. W. Gibbon, Mr H. Atkinson, Mr Walton Atkinson, Mr J. M. Rae, Mr A. E. Hunter, Mr T. Smith, Mr Jacob Bone, Mr T. Young and others, Mr T. G. Short being the pianist.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 11 March 1902

15 March 1902



Sir,—At the presentation of a medal to Mr John Whale, for bravery at the wreck of the Norwegian barque Christiani, Ald. Lawson is reported to have said, "As the pilots failed to secure the assistance of the Life Brigade, oil torches were procured," etc. Allow me, as the officer on duty that memorable night, to give the facts of the case: About a quarter to seven o'clock, while the Brigade were engaged at the wreck of the Constance Ellen, flares were seen in the direction of the Trow Rocks. A detachment of the men were ordered to take the rocket cart along the beach, and after a heavy pull over the sand, nothing was to be seen. While returning towards the pier, word was received that a vessel had gone ashore at the Groyne. The men were ordered to take the cart to the spot, and on arriving there it was seen that it would be of no use to get out the apparatus. Although they were exhausted by their long and hazardous pull, the Brigadesmen not only assisted to bring the crew of the unfortunate vessel ashore, but brought the poor follows along to the Brigade House, where their wants were attended to. It is needless for me to say anything more in vindication of the Brigade on this occasion. On behalf of the officers. —Yours, etc.,

South Shields, March 12th, 1902.

18 March 1902



Sir,—ln answer to Mr George Ogilvie I have to state he must not accept the report of my speech as a full account of all I said. Naturally there was some curtailment, and two references to the Life Brigade were omitted. What I really did say was " they (the pilots) burned red lights to secure the assistance of the Life Brigade, but as we all know they were busy all over the beach that night, and, unfortunately, they could not come." Again when describing the wreck of the Olaf Kyrre, I stated, "about 8 or 10 rockets were fired by the Life Brigade, the men wading waist deep in water to get nearer the ill-fated ship; but no rocket could reach the ship in the face of such a storm." With regard to the stranding of the Christiani, I could only speak from information supplied to me. Mr Ogilvie says they helped to bring the men ashore. I cannot deny it, but the pilots and others who were present will be able to say if it is correct. For more than 30 years I have been present, and an eye-witness on numberless occasions of the devotion to duty and brave work of the South Shields Brigade, and I would much rather do them honour than say a single word that would lead to a misrepresentation of their action. I met Mr Ogilvie a few days ago, and explained the matter to him; he has of course a perfect right to express his opinion, in vindication of his friends, but I am informed, from a reliable source, that the other officers of the Life Brigade did not give either their authority or consent to the publication of his letter.—Yours, etc.,

John R. Lawson

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 18 March 1902


5 April


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 5th of April, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 April 1902


3 May


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 3rd of May, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 1 May 1902


7 June


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 7th of June, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 5 June 1902


5 July


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 5th of July, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 July 1902

11 July

The Annual Meeting took place.


2 August


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 2nd of August, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 31 July 1902


13 September

Capt Thomas retired as Inspector of Rocket Apparatus for the North Eastern Division.

Capt Thomas, R.N.

At the next drill of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade which will be held on Saturday first, Capt. Thomas, R.N., will formally take leave of the members, and introduce to them his successor. Capt. Thomas, I believe, has been inspecting commander of Volunteer Life Brigades in this district, which extends from the Hartlepools to Blyth, for a period of five years. He has always shown a deep interest in the work of these institutions, and personally has done much by his good offices to improve their status at the Board of Trade, under whose patronage they exist. He is an excellent disciplinarian, and has in his day worked zealously for the efficiency of the service. The South Shields members, who have won a particularly warm place in his esteem, will feel the parting as one associated with the loss of a real friend, for this occasion there will no doubt be a big muster.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 10 September 1902

13 September


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 13th of September, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 11 September 1902

13 September

Capt. Stones takes up his appointment as Inspector of Rocket Apparatus for the North-Eastern Division.

Capt. Stones at Shields
New Inspector of Rocket Apparatus

Captain Stones, R.N., who has been appointed Inspector of Rocket Apparatus for the North-Eastern District, in the place of Capt. Thomas, R.N., who recently retired from the position after several years' service, paid his first official visit to South Shields on Saturday, when he was present at a rocket drill by the members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade. He was received at the Watch House, on the South Pier, by Mr S. Malcolm, secretary of the Brigade, who, in a few words, introduced him to the members, of whom there was a good attendance. The usual drill was then gone through, a rocket being fired over the mast erected on the South Sands for practice purposes, and a man being afterwards sent along the line in the breeches-buoy. At the close of the practice Trooper T. Jones, a member who has just returned from South Africa, where he has been on active service, was accorded a hearty welcome home on behalf of the Brigade by Mr Malcolm.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 15 September 1902


4 October


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 4th of October, at 4 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 October 1902

7 October

The Ambulance Class meetings recommenced.


THE AMBULANCE CLASS will meet on TUESDAY EVENING at 8 o'clock, and every succeeding Tuesday.

S. Malcolm, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 6 October 1902

19 October

Members of the brigade attended the funeral of James Henderson, a member of the Brigade.


MEMBERS are INVITED to Attend the Funeral of the late James Henderson on Sunday Next, Oct. 19th. The Brigade will assemble in Uniform at South Eldon Street at 2 20 p.m.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 16 October 1902

18 October

A portrait of Mr S. Malcolm was put on public exhibition prior to its presentation to him.

South Shields Life Brigade

The presentation portrait of Mr S. Malcolm, in recognition of his services to the South Shields Life Brigade, which has been painted by Mr F. S. Ogilvie, is now on exhibition at Mr Hare's music shop in Grey Street, Newcastle, in a few days it will be removed to South Shields, where it is to be unveiled by Mr W. S. Robson, M.P. Mr Malcolm has been honorary secretary to the brigade since its formation (next in formation to the Tyne), 37 years ago. Although second in date, this brigade had the honour of saving life first of any. The well-known picture by the late Mr J. D. Watson, "Saved," illustrates the incident. Mr Ogilvie, as will, we think, be universally admitted, has produced a most successful and thoroughly artistic portrait of Mr Malcolm, which has been greatly admired by all who have, so far, been privileged to see it.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 18 October 1902


1 November


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 1st of November, at 4 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30 October 1902

7 November 1902

Trooper Thomas Jones received a presentation from the Brigade on his return from serving in the Imperial Yeomanry during the Boer War. Trooper Jones was also honoured by the Free Gardeners and the Harton Cork Club (see below).

Presentation to Trooper Jones.— On Wednesday, a sociable gathering was held in the Victoria Hall. South Shields, in honour of Trooper T. Jones who has done active service in South Africa. The proceedings were under the auspices of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, of which Trooper Jones is an active member, and there was a very large company of brigadesmen and friends. The chairman was Mr T. Grimes, one of the captains of the Life Brigade and among those present were Mr S. Malcolm, secretary; Messrs J. Page, G. Ogilvie, captains; and Messrs T. Newby, and R. Bell, deputy captains of the Brigade; Councillors W. L. Robertson, G. H. Laing, and D. Richardson; Messrs M. Wetherall, C. Richardson, R. Kaye, and W. H. Richardson, representing the Butchers Association. The proceedings took the form of the conventional "smoker,' an excellent array of entertainers giving their services for the occasion, Mr Malcolm, in a warm and laudatory speech, handed over to Trooper Jones a gold albert and appendage. The latter bears the inscription, "Presented to Trooper T. Jones by members and friends on his return from South Africa," and on the obverse side are the letters "S.S.V.L.B., and a representation of the rocket apparatus.—The recipient suitably replied. The evening was enjoyably spent with songs and recitations, Mr Swainston presiding at the piano.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 7 November 1902

Presentation to a Trooper at Harton. - A smoker and presentation were held in the Vigilant Inn, Harton, on Tuesday, in honour of Trooper T. Jones, Imperial Yeomanry. The chair was occupied by Coun. D. Richardson, who presented on behalf of the members the Harton Cork Club and others a splendid silver-mounted walking stick.. After the recipient had returned thanks, the remainder of the evening was spent in harmony, contributed by Trooper Jones, Messrs Lowes, Posgate, Key, Cowen, Henderson and others, the entertainment including selections from the gramophone operated by the Bros. Willis.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 October 1902

Free Gardeners' Concert.— Last right the members of the Shamrock Lodge of National United Order of Free Gardeners held a most successful smoking concert at the General Havelock Inn, West Keppel Street, South Shields, to welcome home from South Africa Trooper Thos. Jones, who is a member of the Lodge. Bros. Coun. W. E. O. Scott occupied the chair and Bro. J. Rudd the vice-chair. Amongst those present were Coun. G. Laing, Coun. Richardson, Messrs B. Cowan, J. W. Atkinson, W. Dowle, W. H. Richardson. Kay, Clarke, and a large number of members. During the evening the chairman presented to Trooper Jones on behalf of the members of the Lodge a handsome pipe and case, and in doing stated that Bro. Jones had proved himself a true son the empire and a good soldier. He had been twenty months from home and had served eighteen months at the front. He was under the command of Lord Methuen and saw a good deal of fighting and was once taken prisoner. Bro. Jones suitably replied. The harmony of the evening was contributed to by Messrs Pattison, Possgate, Ford, Marks, Richardson and Jones. An agreeable evening was brought to a close by the singing of the National Anthem.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 9 October 1902

14 November

Whitburn Volunteer Life Saving Company opened a new brigade house.
Whitburn Rocket Company

Opening of a New Brigade House

On Thursday the members the Whitburn Volunteer Life Saving Company opened a new brigade house for which they have been working some considerable time. For years the need was felt of a place where rescued seamen could be taken under care of the Rocket Company to receive first aid and a few of the comforts and attentions that are so necessary in the case of an exhausted man just rescued. To secure this the Board of Trade were approached and generously headed a subscription list with a grant £25. Mr Sewell, on behalf of Sir Hedworth Williamson, leased a piece land for a site to the company at a merely nominal rent of 1s per annum, while to the subscription list a large number of gentlemen in Whitburn, Sunderland, and elsewhere, put down their names and gave liberally, with the result that last night the members had the satisfaction of opening free from debt a very useful building, which will used for the purpose already named, and also for a “lookout" in stormy or dangerous weather.

The opening ceremony was performed an ex-captain of the company, Mr W. Tinkler, who gave a very interesting speech on the formation of the first Rocket Company at Whitburn some sixty years or more ago. Mr Cuth. Hutchinson was the originator and first captain, and on his death, Mr W.A. Hutchinson, (who recently died), his son, took his place. When Mr Hutchinson resigned through ill-health, he (Mr Tinkler) was elected captain, which post he tilled until 1898, and he was proud say that he was connected with this company for about 29 years.

After the opening, the party adjourned to Hall's Cafe, where an excellent repast was served up by Miss Hall. When the tables had been cleared, Mr W. B. Hutchinson occupying the chair, several toasts were honoured. The harmony of the evening was contributed to by Messrs Kidney (senior coastguard), Cowley, Doxford, Crowe, Jno. Wright, Pattison, and Bowman, and a very pleasant and enjoyable evening finished up with the National Anthem and "Auld Lang Syne."

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 15 November 1902

23 November

The Brigade Church Parade took place.


THE MEMBERS are respectfully informed that a Church Parade will be held on Sunday Morning the 23rd inst. To muster at the Brigade House at 10 o’clock. Uniform to be worn.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 20 November 1902

Preacher, Rev CANON SAVAGE.
Collection for the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners' Society's Fund for Widows and Orphans.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 22 November 1902

Volunteer Life Brigade Church Parade.—Yesterday between forty and fifty members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade assembled at the Brigade House at 10 a.m., under the command of Captains Buckland, Page, Grimes, and Ogilvie, Accompanied by Chief Boatman Williams, and a detachment of the Coastguards and Naval Reserve men, they marched, to the music of the South Shields Harmonic Band, to the Seamen's Institute, Mill Dam, where they were met by the chaplain and Dr J. Robertson Crease, medical officer of the Brigade. A sermon was preached by the Rev Canon Savage. The offertory, which amounted to £3 11s Id, was given to the Widows and Orphans' Fund of the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 24 November 1902

26 November

Preparations were made for a testimonial presentation to Samuel Malcolm.

Mr Samuel Malcolm

An interesting event is shortly to take place in connection with the Volunteer Life Brigade. Mr James Page, Mr T. B. Grimes, captains of brigade, have for a little while been at the back of a laudable movement, having for its object the honouring of the hon. secretary and treasurer of the institution. Mr Samuel Malcolm has held the combined offices for 37 years—since, indeed, the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade—second only to the premier volunteer brigade in the country—was established. To have been usefully associated with the work all these years —a big part in even a well matured life time- is in the honourable record, and unique in the history of such institutions. The present movement therefore is one well worthy of the noble traditions of the noble and it is worthy the subject himself. Mr Malcolm, some years ago removed from the scene of the Brigade’s work, but he has continued custodian of its records, and it was without saying that he feels almost a paternal interest and concern for its well being

The Testimonial

The testimonial will take the form of a splendid painting of Mr Malcolm in oils, which Mr Frank S. Ogilvie has just completed. It is a strikingly faithful portrait, and as a work of art just as good and clever as anything that has come from the easel of this artist. Mr Malcolm, wearing the uniform of an officer of the brigade, is seated at a table in the brigade house in easy and familiar posture. His minute book is lying by his side, and there is an open letter too, the precise contents of which are, so l am informed, the text of the recent congratulations which the Board of Trade sent to the Brigade on the brave rescuing work they performed in the memorable storm of November last. Both artist and subject have reason to be eminently satisfied with the picture. The work is in a massive gilt frame. Under the portrait there is the following inscription:—"Presented S. Malcolm, Esq., in appreciation of his signal services as honorary secretary of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade during the past 37 years. Dec. 6th 1892." The presentation will by Mr W. S. Robson, M.P-, on the afternoon of Saturday week.  Preceding the ceremony there will be a rocket apparatus drill. In addition to the painting Mr and Mrs Malcolm will be the recipients of a solid silver tea and coffee service and revolving tureen, which will also bear an inscription.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 26 November 1902


1 December

The Brigade was on stand-by during a gale.

The Gale on the Coast
Rough Seas
Vessels Seeking Shields
A Stirring Incident

The south-easterly gale which came away over the week-end continued the whole of yesterday, rain falling continuously, and did not cease until after daybreak this morning.

A goodly number of vessels ran into the Tyne for shelter, and happily all made the harbour safely, though in one a catastrophe was narrowly averted.

Shortly after three o'clock two steamers entered between the piers abreast each other, and were in imminent danger of coming to grief. The larger steamer of the two, an Austrian named the Arad, was light, her hull standing high out of the water. She occupied the inside berth, and was labouring heavily, the huge seas breaking across the bar turning her head slightly athwart every now and again. She was evidently difficult to handle. After getting well inside the piers was observed that she was in imminent danger of coming foul of the sunken wreck. She was apprised of her danger by the tug on the look out in the vicinity of the wreck, and in order to clear she had to cross the bows of the other vessel, which proved to be the collier Chelsea. It seemed almost certain that the steamers would collide, but disaster was averted by the Chelsea reversing her engines and coming full speed astern, her bows falling just under the stern of the Austrian. So close indeed were the vessels that it would have been easily possible to have jumped off the one to the forecastle of the collier, as she fell round. The latter recovered herself, and eventually got into her right channel again, but the large steamer got out of one difficulty into a worse one. As she pitched on the top of the seas her propeller was thrown clean out of the water, and "raced” at a terrific rate. She drifted out of her course to the south side of the channel, and was well beyond Groyne Light. In striving to get round the Groyne pier she was cast almost completely athwart the seas, and had to back water to hold off. For several moments she lay wrestling with the elements, and it seemed almost inevitable at one time that she would be cast broadside upon the pier end, over which tremendous seas were breaking. By skilful manoeuvring, however, she was eventually steered passed the light in safety, her deck being well within stone's throw as she swerved round into the Narrows. It was piece a of splendid navigation, that extricated her from her peril. A large crowd of people watched the incidents from under the lee of the Life Brigade House, and intense excitement prevailed. The members of the Life Brigade were on duty at the time and every preparation was made for the worst.

During the later part of the afternoon the light in the South Pier lighthouse went out, and was found impossible to relight it. Three men went along the pier for the purpose of lighting the lantern again, but were unable to get any farther than the outer storm gates, owing to the waves breaking over the pier.

Shortly before midnight the light of vessel was noticed from the Spanish Battery, on the north side of the Tynemouth pier, apparently heading for the Castle Rocks The watch instantly turned out, and it was soon noticed that the boat had veered round, her dangerous position having apparently been fully realised. She proceeded northwards, and a little later exhibited a flarelight. When she was thought to off Whitley another flarelight was sent up, after which she proceeded northwards. It is presumed that she was heading for the Tyne, but was misled, owing the absence of the South Pier light, which was not shown all last night.

Throughout the day the coastguard and life brigades on both sides of the harbour kept watch on incoming vessels, being prepared for any mishap that might occur, but happily their services were not called for.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 2 December 1902

6 December


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the 6th of December, at 3 30 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 4 December 1902

6 December

The presentation to Samuel Malcolm took place.

A Veteran of the Life Brigade
Mr S. Malcolm Honoured
Interesting Speeches

A very interesting ceremony took place at the Brigade House, South Pier, South Shields, on Saturday afternoon, when Mr Samuel Malcolm was presented with his portrait in oils, and some valuable silver plate, subscribed for by members and friends of the South Shields Life Brigade, in appreciation of his services as honorary secretary during the past thirty-seven years. Before the presentation took place, the members went through the usual monthly drill with the rocket apparatus, under the direction of Coastguardsman Williams, assisted by the officers of the Brigade. The practice which took place on the sands was very smartly and efficiently carried out. Mr Robson, the Member for the Borough, was an interested spectator of the movements.

S Malcolm portrait

The ceremony in the Brigade House was attended by a large number of people, among whom were many ladies. The Mayor (Mr James Grant, J.P.), presided, and among those present were Mr and Mrs S. Malcolm, the Mayoress (Miss Grant), Mr W. S. Robson, K.C.M.P., Captains G. Robson, Buckland, G. Grey, Potts, Page, Grimes, and Ogilvie; Deputy- Captains Newby, Bell, Oliver, and Ross; Dr Crease (hon-surgeon); Ald. J. M. Winter, Mr J. S. Spence, and Captains Reid and Fry (of the Tynemouth Brigade); Dr J. W. Beattie, and Captain Barlow (of the Sunderland Brigade); Captain Stokes, R.N. (Inspecting Officer of Coastguard, North East Coast); Mr G. T. Grey, Captain Geary, Mr J. R. Lawson, J.P., Mr C. F. Sutcliffe, Rev A. Bourne, Mr F. S. Ogilvie, Rev S. M. McClelland, Rev D. Tasker, Mr W. Corrie Grant, Mr VV. Gladstone Wylie, and Mr D. Cameron.

The Mayor, in opening the proceedings, said that Mr Malcolm was worthy of all the honour that was bestowed upon him. Having known him for more than thirty years, he had always found him to be genial and kindly, and to be a man who was ever ready to render to others whatever service he could. Having referred to the distinction of South Shields in being the birthplace of the lifeboat, the Mayor spoke of life-saving work as being a special characteristic of the dwellers upon the English coast. He then called upon Mr Robson, whom he described as a man who stood in the front rank of those who assembled in Parliament.

Mr Robson M.P., who was warmly received, said he was entrusted with the pleasure and honour of presenting to Mr Malcolm a testimonial of the regard and esteem in which he is held by his fellow-workers and townsmen, and of their gratitude for the faithful and efficient service he had rendered during nearly thirty seven years as secretary of the Life Brigade. When it was founded in 1866 Mr Malcolm was appointed along with the late Mr Archibald Stevenson —an honoured name in South Shields —as joint secretary. Afterwards it was found that the work of organisation was heavy, and money was wanted; so Mr Stevenson took the office of treasurer and Mr Malcolm that of secretary, and upon him no doubt fell the main burden of the work of organisation. Upon the death of Mr Stevenson in 1877, Mr Malcolm assumed both offices, and had held them to the satisfaction of all down to the present date.

Life Brigades were formed primarily to assist the coastguard. They must never forget in singing the praises of the Life Brigade, that the coastguard fulfil a very important service. Between Shields and Marsden, however, there were only four coastguardsmen, quite insufficient for the purposes of saving life. Instead of making a demand on the State for more men, at the expense of the taxpayer, as might have been done in any country but England, the people of South Shields resolved to meet the need of voluntary service, and set to work to form this brigade. South Shields had the distinction of being the birthplace of the lifeboat. He thought every town should guard and keep in memory, and teach to its young the historical assets of the town, and one of the best historical assets of South Shields was its association with the lifeboat. The town came also near to being the birthplace of the Life Brigade, but in this it was anticipated by a few months by a near neighbour,—and he would have grudged that honour to any town further away than North Shields. (Laughter and applause.) In the saving of life, however, the South Shields Brigade was first in the field.

The speaker then referred to the occasion which gave rise to the formation of Life Brigades. That occasion was the wreck of the Stanley on the Black Middens, when 28 lives were lost in the sight of the people on shore who were unable to render assistance, being ignorant of the working of the life-saving apparatus. That calamity put it into the minds of several men living at the harbour mouth that in future people who came to a wreck should not be helpless, but that they should be qualified by proper instruction, training, and skill, to give assistance to the coastguard. Those who joined the Brigades were also required to qualify themselves for the resuscitation of the apparently drowned. There was scarcely any form of death more terrible in its aspect and circumstances than drowning by shipwreck. Men in the full flush of life, with every nerve rebelling against the prospect of extinction, were brought helpless and bound, before the King of Terrors. It was in the supreme moment of peril and danger that the Life Brigade intervened, to protect and preserve the handiwork of the Lord and Giver of life. The South Shields Brigade had been the leading instrument in saving three hundred lives. It was a noble record. That must be a proud day for Mr Malcolm, but he would be prouder still when he retired—if ever he should retire —to reflect that he was associated with such a work of mercy.

He then formally made the presentation to Mr Malcolm by unveiling the picture, which had been covered by an ensign. The portrait represents Mr Malcolm in Brigade uniform seated at a table in the Brigade House, with official documents lying before him. It is the work of Mr Frank S. Ogilvie, the well-known artist, and is a very fine production. There was also presented to Mr and Mrs Malcolm a silver tea and coffee service and revolving tureen, all of very handsome design. These were from the establishment of Messrs James Grant & Son, South Shields.

Mr Malcolm, in replying, said that on an occasion like that, unique in his history, he found himself unable to command that freedom of speech he felt in other circumstances. He was indebted very much to the too generous feelings of his fellow-Brigadesmen and the kind friends who had assisted them in this matter. Standing as he did that day as a link—one of the few now left—between the present and the past, he thought his remarks should have reference to the Brigade itself. Mr Robson had referred to his colleagues in the far distant past, Mr Archibald Stevenson. He wished to say in his memory, with what great enthusiasm Mr Stevenson entered into the work of the foundation of the Brigade and how assiduously he worked in connection with the financial affairs of the Brigade. Mr Malcolm proceeded to point out that the coastguard were responsible for the work at a wreck. The Life Brigades were simply formed to assist them. He liked on all possible occasions to give credit to the coastguard, rather than take it all for the Brigade. That institution had come to stay. It had justified its formation. Within a few months after the establishment of the Brigade they had the good fortune to save a shipwrecked crew. Since then they had been at 91 wrecks, and they had landed exactly 293 people. During that time he was sorry to say 69 people had lost their lives not far from that house. In not one of those cases would it have been possible to have saved a life by the rocket apparatus, and it was no reflection upon the Brigade that those lives were lost. Their work was not without its risks. On more than one occasion volunteers had been required to be dragged through the surf to assist the crew of a ship to work the apparatus. So far the South Shields Brigade had not lost a member in carrying out rescue work, but Tynemouth and Sunderland had each lost a member. He repeated that the Brigade had come to stay, because it embodied a principle which was promulgated nineteen hundred years ago, to the effect that "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Having referred to the high character of the men who had been associated with the Brigade, he said they had had a reputation handed down to them unsullied, and it behoved all who entered an institution of such a character to maintain its reputation, and to do nothing which could bring discredit upon it. In conclusion he expressed to the members of the Brigade and the subscribers the great honour he felt in having this distinction conferred upon them, and the pleasure he had in sitting to the talented artist who had painted the portrait. In the name of Mrs Malcolm and himself, he thanked them also for the useful and valuable silver presents. (Applause.)

Capt. Page proposed a. vote of thanks to Mr Robson for performing the ceremony. He pointed out that that was their Member's first public appearance in the town since his illness. He was simply voicing the sentiments of the people, of whatever shade of politics, in declaring how much they sympathised with Mr Robson in his illness, and how glad they felt at his recovery.—Capt. Grimes seconded the motion, which was carried with acclamation. —Mr Robson acknowledged the compliment and the sympathy extended to him during an illness which he said was sudden, unexpected, and alarming.

Mr Malcolm now made a pleasing announcement to the company. He said his wife and he had come to the conclusion that the natural place for the picture, which had been presented to him, was South ShieIds and that the Brigade House was the most fitting place in which it should be hung. He therefore asked Mr Robson to receive the picture and hand it to the Brigade. He made the proviso, that if, in course of time, it should be found that, from climatic or other causes, the Brigade House was not a suitable place, the officers for the time being should consult with the Mayor and Corporation, and if they thought it was necessary to put it into a more suitable and safer place, they had perfect liberty to do so.

Mr Robson, on behalf of the Brigade, received the picture, and thanked Mr Malcolm.

A vote of thanks to the Mayor was moved by Capt. Robson (who conveyed a kindly greeting to the Brigade from Surgeon Major Hutton), seconded by Capt. Potts, and warmly accorded. A few words by the Mayor in response concluded the proceedings.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 8 December 1902

8 December

The campaign to provide the Brigade with a searchlight was initiated.

"Light for the Rescue”

I am glad to notice that a proposal I have frequently urged in this column has taken practical shape by Mr Roland Philipson’s handsome offer to equip the Tynemouth Life Brigade with a searchlight. It is a considerable time now since I first suggested the desirability of providing the Volunteer Life Brigade Stations at South Shields and Tynemouth with search lights, deriving their supply from the electric lighting cables of the two Corporations, and therefore of being utilised at a moment's notice. Only a fortnight ago I returned to the question in connection with the loss of the Knud and the difficulty then experienced in the darkness of carrying out the work of rescue. Since then the matter has been widely discussed, with the result stated above. Who will follow suit for South Shields? The first cost of providing and equipping searchlights will be the principal item, since, I should imagine, that both the South Shields and Tynemouth Corporations, properly approached, would be willing to supply the high tension current free of charge when required for so laudable a work. If I know anything of the two harbour boroughs, the question of cost will not long be permitted to stand in the way of installing this very necessary addition to the life-saving appliances at the mouth of our noble river.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 8 December 1902

A Well Won Honour

The South Shields Life Brigade did honour to itself on Saturday in honouring one of its few surviving pioneers and its secretary from its formation. Mr Samuel Malcolm has given nearly eight and, thirty years of active and devoted work to the interests of that unique organisation, the second in age of the ring of Volunteer Life Brigades which now encircle our coasts, and which have for their object simply and solely the saving of life without thought of fee or reward. As Mr Robson happily said on Saturday, Great Britain is the only country in the world where such national services as the saving of life from shipwreck and the protection of our country from invasion are discharged freely and voluntarily as part of the unpaid service which British subjects recognise they owe to humanity and - the community. The Tyne is justifiably proud of its record as the birthplace of the Lifeboat and Volunteer Life Brigade. It shows its pride maintaining, independently of any national organisation, its splendid lifeboat service, and by ensuring that its Life Brigades shall never lack what it is perhaps something of an Irishism to call the sinews of war. Only this last week one patriotic Shieldsman has given substantial evidence of this feeling by offering to equip the Tynemouth Brigade with a searchlight for use in rescue work. We do not believe South Shields will have long to wait before is equipped with similar apparatus, the necessity for which was first pointed out in these columns after the great gale of twelvemonth ago. Whether it is in men or materiel, Tynemouth and South Shields alike have always demonstrated the fact that they intend their Life Brigades to be maintained in a position of efficiency second to none.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 8 December 1902