The 135th anniversary of the Mexico lifeboat disaster off the Fylde coast occurs later this year – and is to be commemorated next week with an exhibition at Lytham Heritage Centre.
The tragic events of December 9, 1886 surrounding the lifeboats involved in the saving of the German craft the Mexico remains, all these years later, the worst such calamity in terms of loss of life in the history of the RNLI, and initiated the first-ever street collection for charity.
The Mexico was a barque that left Liverpool on December 5, 1886 bound for Ecuador, but in gale force winds and squally snow showers she ran aground a few days later on treacherous sandbanks in the Ribble estuary.
Lytham’s lifeboat, the Charles Biggs, successfully rescued those on board, but the entire crew of the St Annes lifeboat, the Laura Janet, and all but two of the Southport lifeboat were lost, when their vessels capsized while attempting to help the stricken ship in heavy seas.
The Mexico memorial on St Annes promenade landmark Heritage Centre set to reopen
Ten years ago, the 125th anniversary was marked by a service at St John’s Church in Lytham attended by the local RNLI officials and crew active at the time.
The exhibition, which will be on display from Tuesday, October 12 to Sunday, November 28 at the Centre on Henry Street, which re-opened this summer after extensive refurbishment.
It will feature artistic depictions of the disaster and a wealth of information about what happened on that fateful night. Donations will be welcome.
The Centre is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 4pm.
The lives lost in the Mexico disaster are commemorated in a memorial on St Annes seafront.
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