This film is part of Free

Launch of the RNLB City of Leeds

Jostling for a view, a big Cleveland crowd watch the Princess Royal christen a new lifeboat in Redcar.

Amateur film 1951 4 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


The camera is buffeted by a brisk wind as Princess Mary christens the first ‘City of Leeds’ lifeboat from the bandstand at Redcar seafront. The courage of these seafaring lifeboat crews are rightly still a cause for local celebration in the 50s as the large and enthusiastic Cleveland crowd assembled illustrates. The royal guest no doubt proved a big draw too. The boat, solid wood and without radar, was bought with £10,000 raised by the Leeds RNLI.

The new lifeboat was stationed at Redcar from 1951 to 1964, launched 52 times and helped save 31 lives. In her book Recollections of Redcar, a local historian and fundraiser for Redcar lifeboats since 1930 when they were powered by oars and launched by horses, Vera Robinson MBE recalls the christening of the lifeboat as the Princess Royal stood on the bandstand, with the boat opposite in Titty-Bottle Park. ‘As it was to be performed by remote control, she appeared nervous of operating the lever, with the result she said “I christen this boat,” … turning to the mayor …”Is that right? ... The City of Leeds”.’ From then on, locals always called the lifeboat ‘Is that Right?’