'Mr Henry Greathead of South Shields, the inventor of the Life Boat', 1804.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by Ridley. Greathead (1757-1816) built the first lifeboat, the 'Original', in 1790. Following the wreck of the 'Adventure' the previous year, in which all crew members drowned, William Wouldhave designed the boat which Greathead constructed, incorporating some of his own design ideas. Greathead claimed the title of lifeboat inventor and Wouldhave died without having his contribution acknowledged. The 'Original' served for 40 years before being wrecked on rocks, killing two. From the 'European Magazine', published in 1804 by J Asperne at the Bible, Crown and Constitution, Cornhill, London.