William Riley
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A Rare Find Indeed

Bronze Fixings

>As the old paint was removed along with many years of grime Tim Hicking recognised a distinct shape. He knew instinctively that the shape was left over from where an old RNLI bronze standard was once located. Tim knew that the location of the oval would be lost forever once the resin, matting and paintwork was completed. Since resigning my trustee position I have not been in a position to carry on a photographic record, had I been still involved it would have been something I would have made an important feature of.

>Thankfully Tim had the presence of mind to use his camera phone to take a photograph, in order to capture a record of the plaques location. Limited as they are his camera phone was more than up the task of being able to capture a good photograph.

RNLI Bronze

>I have added it here but I have encentuated the fixings with a dab of white from a virtual paint brush so that it stands out more.

>During its time as a lifeboat the William Riley was fitted with the large bronze plaque bearing the "National Lifeboat Institution", it would indeed be a rare find if ever the original oval plaque where ever located! The second photograph to the left is a partial one I have of the William Riley and her crew at its Upgang station, it serves to identify the accurate location of the bronze oval plaque.

Hull Painting

A Base Undercoat

>Satisfied that the matting had been sanded back to a very clean, smooth surface the volunteers were able to begin turning their attention to get the first of many coats of paint on the boat. As it was scheduled to be taken out of Whitby to Northumberland for a significant part of the restoration to be completed the hull was given a waterline white undercoat coat before its first full undercoat. In the early days of the RNLI, lifeboats were painted in a pale blue colour, this was later changed to the darker Royal Blue seen on today's lifeboats.

>When the William Riley was in service it was at a time when the colours were changing over to the darker blue. The trust made a number of enquiries with the RNLI headquarters to try and ascertain which colour scheme the lifeboat had and to my knowledge no definitive answer was found, this obviously presented the trust with a bit of a predicament. Had the trust had a definitive answer as to the lifeboats service colour, this would have been the colour used for the final colours.

>Quite early on in the restoration the chairman called me to discuss the colour option and I made it clear that if we did indeed have a choice that I preferred the paler blue. My reasoning being that the darker blue is common place whereas not many existing original lifeboats are painted in the paler colours, I felt that the William Riley would be more noticeable with these colours. I cannot speak for the other trustees but in the end it was largely academic as the chairman had allegedly been able to secure a good discount with the paint suppliers if he obtained the same darker blue used in the Whitby Museum lifeboat.

>The photograph above shows the lifeboat on trailer purchased to allow the trust to display the lifeboat. By sheer coincidence the small photograph to the right appears to show the lifeboat in a paler blue, although this is the first of the coats applied. Having left Whitby in November the lifeboat has now returned to its temporary base at the barn and with its new deck and thwarts completed there is now only small jobs left in completing the restoration process.

Copyright © Colin Brittain 1999 - 2022