The Historic Ryder Lifeboat
2002 was the centenary year of the historic Looe lifeboat Ryder. Built at the Thames Ironworks, Bow Creek , London, she was accepted into service at Looe on 25th May 1902. She was dedicated at a ceremony in Looe on the 26th June by Lady Trelawney, who at the same time presented medals for bravery from the French government to the lifeboat crew for their rescue of 19 crew from the French ship Gipsy, the previous December in the Boys Own No.1, Ryder's predecessor. The Ryder served as the station boat at Looe until the end of July, 1930, when the station closed, during which time she was launched on service 12 times, saving 37 lives.
The Ryder is one of only three fully restored pulling and sailing lifeboats left in the country and can be seen afloat in Polperro harbour near the Heritage Museum from May until September each year. As part of this year's celebrations, she will be in Looe on June 9th, for the Great Raft Race, and then will be centre piece for the Festival of The Sea, 21st - 23rd June. It is also intended to enter her in the Great Thames River Race, on September 7th. The finish of the race is at Greenwich, only a short distance from Bow Creek, where she was built. (In 1900 the Thames Ironworks F.C. turned professional, calling themselves West Ham United F.C.; their nickname 'the Hammers' and their badge depicting crossed riveting hammers reflects this association).There is a gap of some twenty years in the Ryder's history between 1932 and the early 1950s. The Ryder Trustees would very much like to hear from anyone with any information about her during this period.
In July 1930 the lifeboat station in Looe closed and the boat and its gear were sold "out of service". Ryder was bought for £65, by Harold Taylor, who was a cabinet maker of 50 - 54 Rea Street, Birmingham. He and his wife, Florence Annie, are listed as resident at 84 Brandwood Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham, in the 1930/31 electoral role. However, in 1931/32 electoral role only his wife is listed, so it is probable that Mr Taylor had died. We have two dated photographs of the boat still on moorings in Looe in 1932, which would back up the theory that Mr Taylor died before the boat was taken from Looe. We are certain that the Ryder was professionally converted to a motor cruiser and renamed "Halmay 3 ", but when and where we do not know. We are led to believe that she might have been based on the south coast somewhere, possibly in the Southampton area. She then re-appears in use as a house boat in the early 1950's in Bristol Docks.
We have tried to trace any relatives of the Taylor's, but so far without
success. Anyone able to help us fill in these missing years, please contact
Tony White at Polperro Post Office, on 01503 272225.
Please visit our sister website, www.talland.org to learn about the
most heroic of the Ryder lifeboat's rescues - that of the French trawler
"Marguerite" - click
Latest update: 15 April 2007