South Shields lifesavers set to celebrate 150th anniversary at reunion

Members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade in 1966.
Members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade in 1966.

Past and present members of a life-saving group in South Shields will come together to celebrate its 150th anniversary.

The South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade was first formed 150 years ago and has prevented countless fatalities since.

A reunion is set to take place on Saturday at the brigade’s historic headquarters in the Watch House on the South Pier, in South Shields.

Organisers are hoping to make contact with as many people as possible who served in the brigade or who have had family connections with its lifesaving work at any time since 1866.

Honorary secretary Tom Fennelly said: “While we have extensive records for much of the brigade’s history, sadly some records were lost and there are gaps in the information we have on some of those who served over the years.

“We would be delighted to renew connections with past members.

“We would especially welcome sight of any records, photographs or artefacts that people may hold.

“The brigade does have an extensive archive of material and much of it is on display in the Watch House.

“Other artefacts and records will form part of a major exhibition which is being staged in South Shields Museum from May 21 to September 17.

“It would be interesting to see if we can uncover items which we have not seen before.”

The brigade didn’t celebrate its 50th anniversary because it fell during the First World War, but the first-ever secretary and president Samuel Malcolm carved a wooden icon to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee in 1926.

Celebrations are taking place throughout the year to mark. To find out more, go to or