Forgotten photos of the RNLI

Forgotten photos is a 12-month project to bring thousands of historic photographs back to life
Black and white image of RNLI display in Charing Cross Underground Station

Photo: The Topical Press Agency

RNLI exhibition in Charing Cross Underground Station, 19 May 1933

A team of Heritage volunteers has been helping us to catalogue, digitise and preserve a collection of 12,000 RNLI photographs.

The collection spans the 20th century and covers all RNLI activities during this time. It includes photographs of gallantry awards, the Royal Family, fundraising, RNLI buildings and offices, lifeboat naming ceremonies and launches, and anniversaries and commemorations.

The photographs had previously been stored in unsuitable conditions within a roof space. So a key part of the project was their removal for cataloguing and long-term preservation using archive-standard storage techniques.

Every effort has been made to trace the copyright holders and obtain permission to reproduce this material. Please get in touch with the RNLI heritage team with any enquiries or information relating to these images or the rights holders.

Photo galleries

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Black and white image of workshop interior with inflatable lifeboats being manufactured
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Colour image of the front of Poole Headquarters building
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Black and white image of crew member and street collector
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Black and white image of five inshore lifeboats
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Black and white image of crew including flagbearer outside St Paul's Cathedral
RNLI events photos
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Black and white image of crew meeting HRH Prince George, Duke of Kent
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Lifeboat volunteers need your help right now

Our crews are facing their toughest Christmas ever. Call outs are increasing, but RNLI income has gone down. And people are still getting into danger in the water. It’s a Perfect Storm. But you can help them through it with a donation today.