Poole’s Old Lifeboat Station Museum reopens to visitors after a full refurbishment

If you’re looking for something to do over the Easter break, why not make the RNLI part of your Easter plans? From Captain’s Ward cork lifejacket to Poole ‘s first motorised lifeboat, you can discover many historical curiosities in the newly refurbished Poole Old Lifeboat Station Museum.

Our volunteers are ready to welcome visitors and share the town’s history of saving lives at sea.

Situated on the eastern end of Poole Quay, next to Fisherman’s Dock, the museum holds a significant place in the RNLI lifesaving history in Poole. It is housed in the same boathouse that was home to lifeboat crews for almost a century, from 1882 – 1974. The redevelopment, which has brought the museum up to date, includes a lovely gift shop and brand new displays of crew bravery.

The Poole Old Lifeboat Station Museum presents the history of its lifeboat crews with artefacts, images, historical text, crew kit, and oral histories from our knowledgeable volunteers. The central piece is the Thomas Kirk Wright, one of Poole’s historic lifeboats, that dates back to 1939 and was the first ‘Little Ship’ in the rescue flotilla at Dunkirk during World War II.

The thirty-two-foot-long surf class lifeboat was operational at the station from 1939 to 1962 and, in 1940, was part of the Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War II from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk. She made three trips during this time until she came under fire. The Thomas Kirk Wright saved 15 lives in her RNLI service and countless more at Dunkirk.

Poole Old Lifeboat Station Museum also offers activities that people of all ages can enjoy. Visitors can capture a lasting memory and learn about launching on a rescue by trying on kits from the days of the Thomas Kirk Wright and the modern RNLI crew. There are also gifts available from the newly-fitted shop that sells a range of nautical-themed items – RNLI memorabilia, cards, gifts, tasty treats, clothing and much more.

The Poole Old Lifeboat Station Museum is free to enjoy, and is open daily between 10.30am and 4pm.

Dave Corke, RNLI Volunteer Museum Manager, said:

The Poole Old Lifeboat Station Museum proudly celebrates Poole’s history of saving lives at sea. This refurbishment has helped re-create a more exciting experience for visitors and makes it an important cultural landmark for our city and community. Our Heritage team and volunteers have worked hard to research, design and fit all items to reproduce the authentic feel of the lifeboat’s past, and with the Thomas Kirk Wright as the main attraction, it is a unique experience for anyone interested in learning more about our local history.

I’m looking forward to seeing visitors from all around the country enjoying all that the museum has to offer, and if they would like to continue their exploration, there’s plenty more to see and do at the RNLI College.’