About the William Henry & Mary King

Historic lifeboat, William Henry & Mary King is an Oakley class lifeboat, built in 1964, by J S White from money provided out of a legacy from a Miss Jane King of Sutton, Surrey, in memory of her father, and also the Institutions' funds. 

She was sent to serve at Cromer as a station lifeboat.  While there, 12 launches took place and one life was saved.  The station closed on 22 June 1967 and the boat was withdrawn. 

The vessel was then re-allocated to Bridlington where she spent most of the rest of her career.  During this time the the lifeboat was launched more times than any other Oakley, saving 84 lives and her crew received eight RNLI awards.

Following her retirement, the vessel was donated to Drayton Park School in 1991, since when the boat has worked her way into the affections of hundreds of children and parents and has become a popular, if quirky, Highbury landmark.  Drayton Park features the lifeboat in its logo and has become known as 'the school with the lifeboat'.

Qualifying for the National Register of Historic Vessels in 2014, the Shipshape Network is following her restoration project, being undertaken by Abingdon & Skabardis Marine Carpentry.


February 2013 - the lifeboat is currently on the hard at Iron Wharf boatyard in Faversham, with these works completed so far:

- cleaning, scraping and sanding of entire vessel
- replacement of wheel house roof
- placement of aluminium patches over holes in superstructure
- installation of new beams and marine ply deck in forward deck well area
- replacement of approx. 3/4 of the rubbing strake in green Oak
- numerous graving pieces in gunwhale
- new teak handrail in forward deck well area

Vessel ready to be painted but due to cold weather, this may have to wait. 

Work is beginning on the yacht cradle Drayton Park School have asked to be constructed instead.






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