The world's first lifeboat was designed and built in South Shields in 1789; this is one of the designs.This is the model that William Wouldhave of South Shields entered into a competition to find the best design for a boat to save lives. With cork inside, his lifeboat was designed to be self-righting if overturned in stormy seas. Although Wouldhave's design came second place in the competition, he is credited by many as the 'inventor of the lifeboat'. The first lifeboat, called the 'Original', of 1789, was built in South Shields by the boatbuilder Henry Greathead (who won the competition) - so, whether you think Greathead should have the title of 'inventor of the lifeboat' or that Wouldhave should be thought of as such, there can be no doubt that the lifeboat, now used the world over, was born in South Shields!
The world's first lifeboat was designed and built in South Shields in 1789; this is one of the designs.