The honour of having been the first inventor of the lifeboat is also claimed by two other men. In the parish church of St. Hilda, South Shields, there is a stone "Sacred to the Memory of William Wouldhave, who died September 28, 1821, aged 70 years, Clerk of this Church, and Inventor of that invaluable blessing to mankind, the Lifeboat." Another similar record tells us that "Mr. Henry Greathead, a shrewd boatbuilder at South Shields, has very generally been credited with designing and building the first lifeboat, about the year 1789." As we have seen, Lukin had received the king's patent for his invention four years before Greathead brought forward his plan. This proves conclusively that the proud distinction belongs by right to Lionel Lukin.
In September 1789 a terrible wreck took place at the mouth of the Tyne. The ship Adventure of Newcastle went aground on the Herd Sands, within three hundred yards of the shore. The crew took to the rigging, where they remained till, benumbed by cold and exhaustion, they dropped one by one into the midst of the tremendous breakers, and were drowned in the presence of thousands of spectators, who were powerless to render them any assistance.
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