The Hoylake Lifeboat station dates back to 1803 and celebrated its Bi-Centenary in 2003. The lifeboat station is one of
the oldest on the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland, and was founded by the Mersey docks and Harbour Board in 1803
but when the superintendent of Hoylake lifeboat station retired on 30 June 1894, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution
took over.  Then in 1899 a new lifeboat station was constructed at cost of £1098:4s:9d, and the old one was demolished
for £16:3s:2d

For a time there was also a Lifeboat Station on Hilbre Island in the Dee Estuary which was also manned by the men of
Hoylake, this Station was closed in the 1930's.  Hoylake has always had a "carriage launched" lifeboat.  At first the boat
was pulled to the water by a team of horses, frames for storing the harnesses can still be seen on the wall in the current
boathouse which was built in 1899.  The last Hoylake lifeboat using oars and sails was the Hannah Fawcett Bennett.  
The boat was manned by fifteen lifeboat-men who, depending on weather conditions, rowed or sailed the boat.  The
boat was pulled down to the water on a carriage drawn by horses belonging to Jesse Baird.  The horses were stabled
next door to the Ship Inn in Market Street.  On hearing the explosion of the maroon, the horses would make their way
down to the lifeboat station even though, at times, they happened to be out working in the district.  In December 1914 a
grey mare belonging to Jesse Baird galloped from Meols on its own to the lifeboat station, after the maroon had being
sounded, having reached the shore the horse died.  The first call for the Hannah Fawcett Bennett came in August 1908,
and the vessel was withdrawn from service in March 1931to be replaced by the Oldham which had a   engine.  Today the
lifeboat and carriage are towed by a caterpillar tracked Talus tractor which has been specifically designed to launch
carriage lifeboats.  The Chapman was the lifeboat which was used on Hilbre Island, it had previously came from
Groomsport in County Down.  The boat arrived in 1924 and remained on Hilbre until lifeboat station closed in 1938.  

Little information is known about the harshness of the job, only snippets of information come to light.  It must be said
however that the job of a Lifeboat crew in the early days was extremely dangerous and low paid.  Most of the crew
worked as full time fishermen and were very experienced mariners but even this was not enough to prevent crew
fatalities.  In 1906 during storms, a member  of the lifeboat  crew "John  Isaac  Roberts"  was
washed overboard, his body was later found at Moreton shore.  Other known information states that in 1873, John
Sherlock, a Hoylake fisherman, was recommended for the mate's position in the Point of Ayr lifeboat during the winter
months, for which he received ten shillings a week.  In July 1895 "The Coard William Squarey" lifeboat took 76
passengers off the steamer Flying Falcon of Liverpool, and transferred them to the New Brighton steam lifeboat.  The
crew of the Hannah Fawcett Bennett at a launching, each received a round tally and each member of the launching crew
a square tally.  In 1890 John Bird the lifeboat coxswain after 34 years service and, in recognition of his long service, was
awarded £10.  During the same year John Eccles and William Barlow also retired from the crew.  

Since the RNLI took over the station, two silver and five bronze medals have been awarded to the crewmen of Hoylake.  
In 1902 a silver medal was awarded to Coxswain Thomas Dodd for the rescue of the crew of nine of the Barque Matador
of Riga, on 16 and 17 October in a severe gale and very heavy sea's.  The Imperial Russian Association for Life-Saving
on Waters awarded the crew their First Class Certificate of Merit for this service and this illuminated certificate is still on
display in the boathouse.  In 1979 a bronze medal was awarded to Coxswain Harry Jones and the RNLI thanks on
Vellum accorded to Second Cox, John McDermott and crewman David Dodd (both men later Coxswain) for a service on
20th September when the lifeboat saved the catamaran Truganini and her crew of three in a westerly storm and very
rough sea's.  Medal service certificate were awarded to other crew members, Geoff Ormrod (later Coxswain), Peter
Jones, Alan Tolley and Gordon Bird.  In August 1992 the present lifeboat Lady of Hilbre was involved in the rescue of a
Polish yacht and her crew of nine during the Tall Ships Race.  In very rough sea's and a full gale the yacht was eventually
towed to safety in Birkenhead. Coxswain John McDermott and all his crew were congratulated by the RNLI for fine
seamanship and professionalism.
The Hoylake Lifeboats c1900
The Hannah Fawcett Bennett towing the Dart in1924
The Hannah Fawcett Bennett and Coxwain
The old Lifeboat House (The shack)
The Hannah Fawcett Bennett under oar
The Hannah Fawcett Bennett & Crew
The Hannah Fawcett Bennett being pulled up the beach
Crew photograph of the The Hannah Fawcett Bennett
The Coard William Squarey coming in
The Coastguard and his family
The Coastguard cottages in 1859