The Mablethorpe Boatshed on Victoria Road is currently closed awaiting repairs to the building and a suitable tenant. The various community activities that have taken place within it in recent years have transferred to The Coastal Centre just a couple of doors down the same road.

The History of Mablethorpe Boatshed

original mablethorpe lifeboat

The Boatshed began its life as just that, the shed that the lifeboat was housed in. It was built and opened on September 20th 1900. Since then it has weathered 2 wars, the East Coast floods of 1953 and seen Mablethorpe develop from a small rural village into a thriving family holiday resort.

Memories of the boatshed and lifeboat within are remembered below as published on the, now discontinued, Mablethorpe Boatshed website and used here with permission.

I see no Ghosts Here

Stretching and yawning John Rowson Linguard opened his eyes and looked around him, he turned to his partner Lifeboat Sally and said "What on earth has happened here, you cannot really mean that we have been asleep since 1920 and that now it is 2005".

Ghosts sometimes come back to haunt us with tales of the past, little looming moments in the shadows of our mind, but not so this ghost, this is the ghost of the "Old Lifeboat Shed" at Mablethorpe, the one on Victoria Road. He clearly remembers the "Shed" being built and the fuss everyone made about the new lifeboat, the crew and all the lives they were going to save.

Mablethorpe Lifeboat

The incredible thing about those days of course, was that the boat had to be pulled to the sea by horses, and then dragged into the water until it was afloat.

Vague memories of wood, men, cork life jackets, noise and bustle abounded then. The urgency of getting the boat to water, meeting and supporting the souls at sea and offering them help and rescue.

He can see them now in his minds eye, Lifeboat Sally was not around then, he was a single young man, full of ideas and hope, and he used to watch the crew. They polished his woodwork, buffed his brass and proudly cared for his nameplate. John Rowson Linguard was the name given to the boat, and it was then his ghost was born; he still remains, to roam around the Boatshed. The crew were keen, enthusiastic and hopeful. All wanting to give something to the community, all willing to follow orders and believing the role was worthwhile. John Rowson Linguard went out to sea several times and remembers horses struggling to get him into the water, strong, determined men, being battered by cold salt sea, putting all his and their energy into getting to where the help was needed, and then in 1920 the decision was made to close the "Shed" and John Rowson kissed Boatshed Sally, closed his eyes, and slept.

He dreamt of the First World war and how hard it had been to find men to crew the boat, how they had to shut the Boatshed and pray that no one needed him, how young men would come and stand outside the Boatshed, full of pride, full of hope, dressed in all their military best, so pleased to be involved in the War, how they went away and how some of them did not come back.

John slept on, Mablethorpe started to change again, fashions of women started to look different, and what was this, Women could vote!!, electricity was beginning to appear in peoples lives, cars were disturbing his sleep. 1939 was awful, planes, darkness, and more men going away, land girls working where the men had once worked. Mablethorpe has changed and is changing, what's this? Why are there more uniforms and young men going away again? Another war, another battle.

Mablethorpe 1953 flood

Dreaming on John begins to feel water swirling around him again, unpleasant feelings of the sea breaching the defences. It is 1953 and the sea defences have broken and the sea has come in to the town.

The noise from the holiday makers getting off the trains begins to get dimmer, he cannot hear the steam engines anymore, 1966 and the station has closed, the shops are changing, the crowds are less and less each year.

Still more time passes and the doors of the "Boatshed" start to look tatty and uncared for, lots of groups of people come and go, but no one seems to care about what will happen to the building? and the ghost drifts off again, into a deep sleep.

Inside The Mablethorpe Boatshed

September 2005, he stretches, yawns and asks Lifeboat Sally that first question; but before she has any chance to answer people start coming into the building, young people, older folks, all sorts of different groups. John and Sally perch on the roof of the little 'one to one' room and try to work out what is happening.

They see young people laughing and learning, older folks carrying strange items, (which we know as computers and phones), walls being built and energies moving around. Someone called Sarah, who says she is a 'Co-ordinator', helping people to make informed choices, a "Committee" determined not to lose the history of the Boatshed, as well as determined not to ever stop being helpful. John and Sally really enjoy the committee meetings, as all the people who use the Boatshed are involved, and they see how diverse the people are who use it, but they are still mystified as to what the Boatshed is now doing. Finally at a meeting in late September 2005 they discovered what the Boatshed is doing, and this is what they find out.

New Doors for the Mablethorpe BoatshedNo "boat", but "hope", no souls at sea, but souls seeing, no crew going out, but rather encouraging people in. The Boatshed now puts "people" in where they used to house the Boat. The Boatshed is now a Multi-Use Centre. New doors are replacing the old, doors that look as if the Boatshed is proud of itself again; a new kitchen is about to be built, a shower room for those who do not have the facilities at home and so much more.

The "Boatshed" has again got wind in her sail, a crew rowing with direction, sailing towards the shore of change, knowing all is well. The ghost might not know how to deal with 2005, 100 years after he first moved into the "Boatshed", but he, and Sally, made a decision, that they will stay and see the exciting things that unfold in their home.

After all, home is where the "boat" was.