Centre exhibitions are war-related

Dorothy Brownlee, the curator of the exhibition, is pictured beside a display of RNLI medals.
Dorothy Brownlee, the curator of the exhibition, is pictured beside a display of RNLI medals.

Two national exhibitions that commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War are currently on display at the Old Low Light.

The heritage centre on North Shields Fish Quay is the last port of call for the RNLI’s Hope in the Great War.

The exhibition, which has travelled the country, features six heroic lifeboat services and with interactive displays and artwork, it is a useful way for families to learn about the amazing work of RNLI volunteers during the war.

Of great local interest is the Whitby rescue, in which Tynemouth RNLI’s Henry Vernon motor lifeboat made history.

In October 1914, the hospital ship Rohilla, on her way to France to pick up wounded troops, was wrecked at Whitby in a south east gale and wartime blackout.

There were more than 200 on board, including medical staff. The people of Whitby were tireless in their rescue work, but ferocious seas prevented local pulling lifeboats from completing the rescue.

Tynemouth’s motor lifeboat sailed the 40 miles to Whitby overnight in that same gale and blackout and rescued the last 50 men.

Among numerous awards made to the rescuers, two Gold RNLI Medals, one RNLI Silver Medal and two Empire Gallantry medals were awarded to Tynemouth volunteers.

Old Low Light volunteer and curator Dorothy Brownlee, whose grandfather and great uncle were Tynemouth crew members at that rescue, has collected artefacts, photographs and documents to give the exhibition a local flavour.

Dorothy is hoping visitors might be able to add to the display with information or memorabilia from relatives.

She is giving an illustrated talk about the rescue – The Wreck of HMHS Rohilla – at the centre tomorrow from 11am.

The venue is also displaying the 100 Hearts War Stories project by Embroiderers Guild UK.

The Guild is commemorating all those who took part in the First World War. The textile artists have interpreted individual stories as unique and sensitive images stitched onto hearts.

Both exhibitions will be on display at the centre until November 30.