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Explore story of remarkable heroine at museum open day

Other posts by  |  Sheelagh Caygill on Google+ |  November 18, 2011 | 0 Comments

The 'Grace Darling' Lighthouse, Longstone Island, Farne Islands, has seen very rough seas in its time

The Grace Darling Museum, Bamburgh, will hold a free open day for residents on November 26.

Visitors will be able to look around the Northumberland museum and learn more about one of the North East’s most famous heroes, Grace Darling. You’ll get a chance to discover what kind of Christmas Grace and  her Georgian/Victorian contemporaries experienced more than 100 years ago.

People are also invited to make Christmas decorations at the museum.

For those unfamiliar with Grace Darling, she is remembered for struggling through a storm with her father, William, to rescue four men and a surviving woman from the Forfarshire, which foundered on the rocks of Big Harcar, close to the coast.

Born in 1815 at Bamburgh, Grace spotted the Forfarshire from the window of the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands on September 7, 1838, where her father William was a keeper.

She and William realised that the North Sea was too rough for a lifeboat to set sail from Seahouses and so took a rowing boat (also known as a Northumberland coble).

The dramatic and tragic events then saw William and three of the rescued men row back to Longstone Lighthouse. Grace remained there while William and the men headed back to recover the remaining survivors.

The Grace Darling Museum, Bamburgh © RNLI

A lifeboat carrying another Darling family member – William Brooks, Grace’s brother – was launched from Seahouses but arrived at Big Harcar after the rescue was complete. The lifeboat crew found the dead bodies of Mrs Dawson’s two children and a vicar.

The sea was so rough that the lifeboat crew had to join the Darlings and the rescued party at the lighthouse for three days until the seas were calm.

The Forfarshire had 63 passengers. It smashed in two after hitting the rocks. Those rescued by Grace and her father were from the bow section of the vessel which had been held by the rocks for some time before sinking. All that remained at daybreak was the portside paddlebox casing.

Nine other passengers and crew were able to launch a lifeboat from the stern section moments before it sank. They were rescued by a passing ship, the Montrose Sloop, and arrived at South Shields, near Newcastle, later that same evening.

The Grace Darling museum is located on Radcliffe Road and is open from 10am until 4pm, Tuesdays to Sundays.

 

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