Location: Southwold

Website: www.maritimeheritageeast.org.uk/museums/alfred-corry-museum

Dedicated in 1893, the Alfred Corry was the Southwold No 1 lifeboat The Alfred Corry served for 25 years until she left the service in 1918 during which time 47 lives were saved. In 1913 a model of the boat was made to commemorate 20 years in service and this model can still be seen in Southwold Church.

Following hard work during the Great War she was in need of considerable repair and eventually in 1918 she left Southwold for Lowestoft where she was kitted out as a ketch rigged yacht and renamed Alba. There followed a period of a succession of owners who used her as a cruising yacht mainly on the south and east coasts. In 1939 she was laid up in a mud berth for the duration of the war but was then bought by another owner who renamed her Thorfinn and began the third phase of her life as a houseboat.

In 1976, abandoned by her owner, she was bought by John Craigie and family, grandson of the first coxswain and the programme of restoration was set in motion. After four years and bearing the original name of Alfred Corry she entered Southwold Harbour again for the first time in 62 years. Awaiting for her to arrive was the son of her last Coxswain who had been taken by his father for a trip from Southwold to Lowestoft when the boat had been taken out of service.

Eventually it became too much for one family to maintain the boat and, as she approached her 100th birthday, plans were made to retire her, restore her to her original form and install her in her own museum. A permanent exhibition shows the history of the Alfred Corry and the life boat shed in which it is housed. The shed, in itself, makes a tremendous story, having been brought by sea from Cromer in 1998. The building was built in 1923 and is a fine example of a typical lifeboat shed of that era. A charitable trust was set up to care for the boat, initially funded by the sale of the boats yacht fittings but since then has received financial help from many sources.