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Brand-new Penlee Lifeboat Station officially opens

Brand-new Penlee Lifeboat Station officially opens

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:00am 12th October 2019. (Updated at 4:03pm 12th October 2019)

Penlee's brand-new two-storey lifeboat station is officially opening in west Cornwall.

The building was handed over to the RNLI in July after nine months of construction, which saw the former one storey station knocked to the ground.

A modern, two storey facility has been built in its place, which is four times the size of the old one. It cost over £1.2 million to build.

Serving both the Severn-class all-weather and Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboats, which are kept afloat in Newlyn Harbour, internally, spaces within the new building are light and bright.

The ground floor comprises a dedicated mechanics workshop, a spacious crew changing room equipped with warm showers, drying facilities and a public visitor experience centre showcasing the history of Penlee RNLI and vital coastal safety information.

Upstairs boasts a crew training and meeting room, a crew room where the volunteers can enjoy a hot cup of tea and debrief after a shout, and office space.  

penlee lifeboat station
The new changing room - where each crew member has their own cubicle


The building has been designed to respond to its working harbour setting. Within a Conservation Area and in a prominent waterfront location, the scheme reflects the nature of the surrounding timber-clad buildings.  

The architectural form was carefully considered; a mono-pitch roof allows for large windows which provide operational views across the water towards St Michael’s Mount and beyond.

The scheme also includes a number of renewable energy features, in common with other modern stations, including solar PV panels and a ground source heat pump linked to the underfloor heating.

Costing just under £1.2 million, the new building has been funded by a number of generous bequests and donations, and the efforts of a Penlee Community Appeal which raised over £200,000. 

penlee lifeboat station
The visitor centre will be decked out with history and information about the lifeboat station - including the Solomon Browne disaster

"It's been incredible to see the new station become a reality. There are still a few technical bits to finish off before we can officially move across from the temporary portacabins but we're starting to use the building and its great.

"It's hard to remember the cramped conditions we were operating from this time last year. The space we now have is going to take us a little time to get used to but we're so pleased.

"We now have a large crew room where the volunteers can gather and rest after a shout, a separate training room which can also be used by the local community, changing facilities with room for each of the volunteer crew to store their gear and a shower so they can warm up after a shout.

"Tony, our mechanic has a separate workshop and I also have my own office space, which allows some privacy to complete all the paperwork and admin involved at the station. It's a state-of-the-art facility and we very excited to move in and use it."

Patch Harvey, Penlee RNLI Coxswain

penlee lifeboat station
The new crew room where the team can relax and have a cuppa

The visitor engagement area is still under development, due for completion in time for the official opening in October.

This will be a standalone part of the building where Penlee's proud heritage and sea safety information will be displayed for visitors.

The cost of the new lifeboat station has been funded by a number of generous donations, as well as a local community appeal which raised over £200,000.

penlee lifeboat station
The training room will be used for team debriefs and also school groups

An official opening ceremony is now taking place on Saturday 12th October.

The ceremony and service of dedication will start at 11am, after which the Reverend Yvonne Hobson, Lifeboat Station Chaplain, will lead the Service of Dedication and Blessing of the Lifeboats.

Station and fundraising volunteers, alongside members of the community, supporters and donors will be invited to help mark the occasion. 

penlee lifeboat station
This is the main reception of the building - which leads straight to the changing room for the crew

"We launched the Penlee Fundraising Appeal in January 2015 when the concept of a new lifeboat station seemed a long way off.

"Despite this, the local community really got behind the challenge and through Lifeboat Balls, coffee mornings, open water swimming challenges and even donations from children who had save up their pocket money raised an incredible amount in a short space of time.

"Everyone involved should be very proud of what we have achieved and extremely proud to step foot inside this new station that they have made a reality for the volunteer crew who give up much of their own time to ensure people's safety at sea."

Eric Taylor, Volunteer Chairman of Penlee RNLI Fundraising Committee

penlee lifeboat station
And the lifeboat is right outside

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