J C MADGE is a Royal National Lifeboat Institution Liverpool class lifeboat, built by Thames Ironworks in London between 1903 and 1904. Her yard number was TK 68 and her lifeboat number was 536. She was built with a legacy from James C. Madge of Southampton and cost £1436. She was in service from 13 December 1904 to June 1936 and arrived on station at Sheringham, Norfolk on 2 December, having sailed around the coast from Blackwall. She was officially named on 13 December and housed in a newly built corrugated iron boathouse at the Old Hythe. Her coxswain from 1904 to 1914 was William ‘Click’ Clark. He was replaced in 1914 by Obadiah Cooper and then, in 1924, James Dumble took over for the rest of her service. The boat was carriage launched, needing at least thirty men to haul her out to the sea. Where possible, she was then rowed through the surf, but if this was too difficult, she was hauled out using the haul-off warp - a thick rope anchored offshore and fixed at the beach end by the lifeboat house. In her career, J C MADGE was launched thirty-four times and is credited with saving fifty-eight lives. She also frequently stood by local fishing boats, ready to give assistance if necessary. Her most notable rescue was that of SS ULLER of Bergen on 24 February 1914. The vessel was en route from Sunderland to La Pallice with a cargo of coal and had foundered on a sandbank. Amid snow storms and strong winds, J C MADGE escorted SS ULLER to the Humber Estuary fifty-three miles away. J C MADGE was converted to a family cruiser on leaving the service, when she was replaced by FORESTER CENTENARY. Her hull is clinker built, fastened with copper nails and roves. She has a pointed bow with a plumb curved stem and a pointed stern. Her two timber masts are rigged with lug sails. She was rowed by sixteen oars, had two drop keels and two water ballast tanks. J C MADGE is believed to be the only forty-one foot Liverpool class lifeboat ever to be built and following restoration to her original appearance by March 2008, she is now on view to the public at The MO, Sheringham.
Farr, Graham, Lists of British Life-Boats Part 1: Non Self-righting, Pulling & Sailing Boats 1775-1916, 1983
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