JAMES STEVENS No10
In 1898 the RNLI's Chief Inspector visited the St.Ives lifeboat station and after conducting an exercise he stated the current 10 oared 34ft lifeboat EXETER (2) was not powerful enough for the work she had to do. He recommended that a larger 12 oared 37ft 6" lifeboat should be built for the St.Ives station.
The St.Ives lifeboat JAMES STEVENS No 10 was built in 1899 by the Thames Ironwork Company, Blackwall, London. The first journey for this new lifeboat began on a steam train, she left London Paddington on 27th December 1899 and arrived at Hayle, Cornwall on 2nd January 1900. A large crane was used to lift the boat off the railway carriage and lower her into the water.
On Wednesday 3rd of January the St.Ives lifeboat crew sailed the JAMES STEVENS No10 from Hayle to her new home in St.Ives, there was a stiff breeze blowing and the crew reported that she sailed beautifully. A large crowd had gathered at St.Ives harbour to witness the arrival of the new lifeboat and after being recovered onto her carriage the boat was then taken to the lifeboat house.
JAMES STEVENS No 10 was a 37 feet 6 inch self righting sailing and rowing lifeboat, she was crewed by 15 men and propelled by 12 oars or 3 sails. She was on service at St.Ives from 1900 until 1933, during this time the lifeboat saved 237 lives, 2 dogs and also saved many vessels from being wrecked. It was common for her to be launched during gales and often during ferocious hurricane force storms, on one occasion she was launched 5 times and saved 40 lives in just one day.
In March 1933 the new motorised lifeboat CAROLINE PARSONS arrived in St.Ives and the JAMES STEVENS No10 retired from lifesaving duties. The RNLI sold the retired lifeboat to a local resident, he then renamed the boat PATRICIA MARY and also fitted an engine. The old retired lifeboat then became a pleasure boat and offered trips around St.Ives Bay.
Even though the JAMES STEVENS No10 aka PATRICIA MARY had retired from RNLI lifeboat service, on Sunday 15th August 1936 the boat performed one last rescue mission. The St.Ives lifeboat crew manned the PATRICIA MARY and set off for Godrevy. Four persons were reported to be in difficulty after their boat had capsized, fortunately the lifeboat crew’s services were not required and the four men were rescued from the shore.
The PATRICIA MARY ( JAMES STEVENS No10 ) continued her pleasure boat trips for many years, however she disappeared from St.Ives after the outbreak of the Second World War and very little is known about the next chapter of her life. It is thought that she might have been used for the Dunkirk evacuation, but this has yet to be proven. She was owned in later years by Colonel Hawkes who was Commander of the Colchester Military Garrison, he kept the boat at Oakley Creek until he passed away. This historic lifeboat was then sold to a new owner but unfortunately the boat sank shortly after, it was then refloated and taken to a boatyard in Walton on the Naze where it was laid up.
A keen lifeboat enthusiast spotted the old lifeboat lying derelict at the boatyard and he knew that she was the JAMES STEVENS No 10. Knowing that she would probably end up being cut up and burned, he wrote a letter to the Honorary Secretary of the St.Ives Lifeboat Station appealing for her to be rescued and restored. This letter was then forwarded and printed in the St.Ives newspaper, the letter was seen and new custodians were found. In September 2002 the lifeboat was transported back to the same Harbour that she was originally launched from in 1900 and an 18 month restoration project got underway on the quayside at Hayle Harbour.
In May 2004 the newly restored JAMES STEVENS No 10 was again lifted into the water by crane and she once again resumed her life as a pleasure boat, taking passengers around St.Ives Bay and sailing West to Seal Island. This continued for several years although the lifeboat changed ownership in 2006, however she still continued her role and seasonal routine. The fleet of pleasure boats in St.Ives were slowly being replaced with more modern faster boats and in 2009 the old Lifeboat fell victim to this modernisation, she was replaced and then laid up at Dynamite Quay, Hayle and left unattended.
Eventually years of neglect finally took their toll and on 30th December 2015 the JAMES STEVENS No10 sank for the second time in her life.