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Origins of the Lifeboat House


At a local lifeboat Committee Meeting on 3 January 1884 a gift of £1,000 was reported from Henry Martin Harvey, Esq.,of Launceston for the building of a complete new lifeboat station - the committee resolved that this generous donation should be appropriated to the new Penzance station and the lifeboat would be purchased and named 'Dora' as he wished. 

Later in 1884 a brand new boathouse made of Cornish granite was built at the bottom of Jennings Street. It cost £575.6s.6d to build and the entire amount was donated by Henry Martin Harvey, Esquire, of Hexworthy, near Launceston. 

February 11th 1885 saw the public opening of the new Penzance Lifeboat Station at the bottom of Jennings Street on the quay, a more convenient site granted by the Town Council. Complete with a bell turret & bell, and terracotta RNLI roundels either side of the bay window, it was a fine example of a new lifeboat station. 

The new 34ft x 8ft 10-oared lifeboat 'Dora' was drawn through the town to the new lifeboat house, where the donor, Henry Martin Harvey, presented the key to Commander Primaudaye, RN, Inspector of Lifeboats, and by him to the Mayor of Penzance. The 'Dora' lifeboat was then launched from the quay into the harbour, a drop of 10 feet.

During her service the Dora rescued from 10 vessels saving a total of 57 lives. She was sold on from the RNLI in 1895 but survived until the grand old age of 96 years when she was finally broken up in 1980 in Ireland.  
For more information about the local RNLI history and current lifeboats - http://www.rnli-penleelifeboat.org.uk/ and - https://m.facebook.com/penlee.lifeboat/

Many thanks to Elaine Trethowan for preparing this history summary.