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History of Walton Maritime Museum
- Introduction (current page)
The Honourable Artillery Company's annual camp on the Naze had a good view of the
dangers of seafaring and the need for a lifeboat in the area. During the 1860's & 70's
the drama club of the H.A.C. staged 'Smoking Concerts' to raise £500 which was used
in 1884 to provide a boathouse & lifeboat at Walton for the R.N.L.I.
The Lifeboat House was constructed from single skin brickwork with cast iron guttering
sitting directly on top of it and huge barn-type doors on the front that opened to allow
the lifeboat in & out.
There had been a privately run lifeboat at Walton since 1880 and a rivalry existed for the
next 30 years (between R.N.L.I. crew and that of the Walton watermen led by George
Polley). The volunteer boat the 'TRUE TO THE CORE' was a fast boat and kept on a
mooring, so frequently arrived at casualties before the ‘H.A.C.’ so the R.N.L.I. boat was
replaced by a similar design the 'JAMES STEVENS' in 1900.
In 1899 the lifeboat station anticipated receiving a new lifeboat, the JAMES STEVENS
NO.14 that was longer than the building, so it extended the rear of the premises into
a half octagon shape. In the event, the J.S.14 was stationed off the pier for a quicker
get away when required for rescuing. The lifeboat house was no longer needed and so
became a storage shed for deckchairs by the local council.
In 1983 the Frinton & Walton Heritage Trust leased the front half of the derelict building
to use as a focus for local heritage, opening the Walton Maritime Museum, after
renovation, 2 years later.
The rear half was turned into public toilets, which were closed in 1995. The Trust then took
over the remainder of the building, turning the 1899 extension into a humidity and
temperature controlled archive & artefact repository store to complement the museum.
James Stevens no.14 at the October MHE 2008 event
Bow Pudding of restored lifeboat
W Hammond's RNLI Certificate
Walton Maritime Museum Volunteers with the James Stephens No.14 in October 2008