"The 'Mexico' Disaster"

12 October - 28 November 2021, 10:00 - 16:00, Tuesday - Sunday, closed Mondays except for Bank Holidays

Laura Janet, St. Annes (lost) Charles Biggs, Lytham Eliza Fearnley, Southport (lost)

9 December 2021 is the 135th anniversary of the Mexico Lifeboat Disaster of 1886 – the worst ever lifeboat disaster. The tragic events surrounding the lifeboats involved in the saving of the Mexico generated great emotion nationally.

The Mexico was a barque that left Liverpool on 5th December 1886 bound for Ecuador, South America, but in gale force winds and squally snow showers she ran aground a few days later on treacherous sandbanks in the Ribble estuary.

Several paintings have tried to capture this terrible event, this example is the famous painting of "The Mexico rescue by the Lytham Lifeboat Charles Biggs" by E. D. Walker


Lytham's lifeboat – the Charles Biggs - successfully rescued those on board, but the entire crew of the St Anne’s lifeboat – the Laura Janet - and all but two of the Southport lifeboat – the Eliza Fernley - were lost, when their vessels capsized whilst attempting to help the stricken ship in heavy seas.

The disaster shocked the nation. It was, and still remains, the worst in the history of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and had far-reaching effects both on lifeboat design and on charity fundraising. Seeking to help those widowed and orphaned by the tragedy, Sir Charles Macara, a Manchester businessman who lived in St Anne’s, initiated Lifeboat Saturday, the world’s first ever organised street collection for charity.

Exhibition poster

Exhibitions Calendar

12th October 2021, 09:00 AM through  4:00 PM
Lytham Heritage Centre
2 Henry St
Lytham, LAN FY8 5LE
United Kingdom
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