RNLI’s historic links with Plymouth celebrated in second Book of Wonder


Council Leader Tudor Evans and Plymouth RNLI Coxswain David Milford launch the second edition of the Book of Wonder

Council Leader Tudor Evans and Plymouth RNLI Coxswain David Milford launch the second edition of the Book of Wonder

Did you know Plymouth was one of the first places in the country to have a lifeboat, with the first stationed here in 1803?

The RNLI was set up in 1824 and formally took over running the Plymouth lifeboat station the following year.

It is the busiest station in the region, with crew members helping to rescue 127 people last year over 99 call outs and the lifeboat’s long relationship with the city has been highlighted in the latest edition of Plymouth’s Book of Wonder.

Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “It’s fitting that the RNLI play a role in the second Book of Wonder as they’ve been a key fixture in Britain’s Ocean City for almost 200 years.

“The first edition was a real hit and gave some pretty important people a flavour of what Plymouth is about. To be honest, there are so many incredible facts about Plymouth, it was a real struggle to select them.

“The Book of Wonder is a simple but great way to highlight how Plymouth has played a massive part in our nation’s and world history and has a huge part to play in its future. Our companies and organisations continue to put Plymouth on the map in so many ways.”

Plymouth RNLI Coxswain David Milford added: “We are delighted to be included in the Plymouth Book of Wonder. There has been a lifeboat on service in Plymouth since 1803, a fact that not many people will know. It is great to see and read all the different historical facts about our Ocean City.”

Lots more fabulous facts have been unearthed for the latest Book of Wonder, which contains a wealth of ‘well I never’ nuggets from Plymouth’s past as well as amazing facts about modern Plymouth and some of the businesses and organisations here.

The Council has put together an updated version of the popular publication which has been read by the likes of the American Ambassador and Government ministers to Tinie Tempah, members of Kaiser Chiefs and Little Mix.

More fabulous facts include

  • The architect behind the iconic K2 red telephone box Sir Giles Gilbert Scott designed the Roman Catholic Church of Christ the King on Notte Street. It was his last building
  • All the great men of the arts and sciences met in Plymouth and Devonport in the summer of 1841. It was here that the great fossil expert Richard Owen gave a pioneering paper that would soon lead to his coining the word Dinosauria – the rest is pre-history
  • The Cattewater Wreck discovered near the Sutton Harbour entrance was the first wreck to be protected under an Act of Parliament
  • Trunki ride-on suitcases – which first appeared on Dragon’s Den and are now seen in terminals and stations all over the world – are made here by Magma Moulding using recycled plastics
  • Plymouth-based creative content company The Moment is behind Kenco’s ‘Coffees versus Gangs’ campaign – their online documentaries have garnered millions of viewers
  • The National Marine Aquarium has four million tonnes of water on display and a further two million in storage
  • We have the oldest covered slipway in the world – it dates back to 1763

All VIP visitors to Plymouth University, Plymouth College, University of St Mark & St John and Plymouth College of Art received copies of the first edition. Devon Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses used them to sell the city and the Council also distributed copies to prospective developers at the MIIPIM property exhibition.

Elinor Eaton, Development Manager of the New Continental Hotel, said: “Introducing what we love about our city to guests is part of the joy of working in hospitality. Having Plymouth’s Book of Wonder in our guests’ rooms enables them to see just how enchanting Plymouth really is.

“Last summer the New Continental Hotel welcomed over 40 tours; bringing in thousands of international guests from countries all around the world, all choosing Plymouth as their summer holiday hot spot. Plymouth’s Book Of Wonder played centre stage, being the perfect summer read, sharing facts and a flavour of our city that would leave a lasting impression, long after they arrived safely back home.”

Copies were sold by the Tourist Information Centre – particularly to local people sending them to relatives around the world as a little reminder of home. Copies were also stocked in Plymouth Gin airport bars in Heathrow, Manchester, Gatwick and Barcelona.