This film is part of Free


A Perkins Engines sponsored film on the development of British lifeboats and the history of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Promotional 1966 18 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for East Anglian Film Archive


Founded in 1824 as the ‘National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck’, the RNLI gained its Royal Charter in 1860. It is one of many charities in the UK for which the Queen acts as patron. Most of the members of the RNLI’s lifeboat crews are unpaid volunteers as the organisation is mainly funded by donations and legacies from the public. Lifeguards on over 200 British beaches are paid by local councils, but the equipment and training is provided by the RNLI.

Perkins of Peterborough is famous for its specialisation in diesel engines for industry, agriculture, boating and transport in general. The company started to promote itself through film in the 1950s and today, the informative and instructional films will appeal to enthusiasts of diesel engine history. The impressive output of the Perkins Engines Film Unit, both in quality and quantity, is reflected in almost one hundred productions from the 1950s to the 1980s. Well-known for lending its films free of charge for viewing by the general public, the collection held at the East Anglian Film Archive includes six of the Perkins Film Reviews of the 1950s, originally shot in 35mm exclusively for staff.