Lifeboat hero Henry is back in spotlight, 133 years on

Henry Hood's heroics are featured in the Safe and Sound exhibition.
Henry Hood's heroics are featured in the Safe and Sound exhibition.
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A hero who clambered over a reef to save a ship’s crew will have his story highlighted in a new exhibition.

Henry Hood’s dramatic action is just one highlight in a new exhibition at the Museum of Hartlepool called Safe and Sound – Stories of Emergency Response in the Tees Valley.

The story of the Match Factory Fire in 1954 is also featured in Safe and Sound.

The story of the Match Factory Fire in 1954 is also featured in Safe and Sound.

It explores the development of the emergency services through some of the people who have worked on the front lines.

The exhibition which runs until Sunday, May 8, is the culmination of an 18-month research project which has searched the collections of the four Tees Valley museums – the Museum of Hartlepool, Darlington’s Head of Steam and the Dorman and Captain Cook Museums in Middlesbrough – to uncover emergency services-related objects which have stories to tell.

Among the subjects featured is the development of the lifeboats. A lifeboat has been stationed in Hartlepool since 1802, and in 1825 a station opened at Seaton Carew. Since then a number of people have manned the boats – and none was more famous than Henry Hood.

His best-known rescue was of the crew of the Atlas, which ran aground on the Longscar Rocks in 1883. The rough seas meant the lifeboat could not be taken close to the rocks, so Henry and a colleague climbed onto the reef to continue searching on foot. With great difficulty, the crew was saved.

This exhibition goes some way to celebrating the rich history of emergency response in the Tees Valley and acknowledging the people who have served our local communities so well.

Anna Dodgson, Cultural Officer at the Museum of Hartlepool

Henry and his colleagues were awarded the RNLI silver medal for bravery. Henry himself also received the Albert Medal for lifesaving from Queen Victoria. His medals are on show in the exhibition.

Other artefacts in the exhibition include matches from the North of England Match Factory which was destroyed by a fire in 1954.

Anna Dodgson, Cultural Officer at the Museum of Hartlepool, said there were “so many fascinating stories waiting to be heard and so many artefacts which bring them to life.”

The Museum of Hartlepool – at Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience – is open daily from 11am-4pm up to and including March 18, and then from 10am-5pm from March 19 onwards. Entry is free.

For more information about the Safe and Sound, contact Anna Dodson on (01429) 523428 or email anna.dodson@hartlepool.gov.uk