(43) RNLI coin collector, Marina

RNLI coin collector, Marina. Photo by Paul Wright, July 2017.

On 3rd August 1935, the Bexhill Observer published a short report informing its readers of the appearance of “a small iron pedestal” close to the Beach Inspector’s Office at the Colonnade. Painted in “unobtrusive colours” it was hoped the box would help to collect vital funds for the RNLI although Bexhill has never had its own lifeboat or associated lifeboat station. Major alterations to the Colonnade following the Second World War saw the collecting box move to its current position on Marina close to the War Memorial. It is not known when the collecting box was decommissioned by the RNLI although it was probably still in use in the early 1960s.

The collecting box is constructed of cast iron, with a square base and approximately 1m in height. The side facing north has a door with keyhole for emptying the contents. The side facing south has at its base a foundry-maker’s plaque which probably reads Preston & Bishop, Victory Foundry, which was in Birmingham.

There are only known to be six other examples in England, one of which near Penzance, Cornwall, is Grade II listed by Historic England. There is also one in south Wales.

By 2017 the pedestal had received little care except coats of dark green paint as part of the Council’s routine maintenance of its seafront structures. A small group of local residents as well as Bexhill Museum and Rother District Council representatives decided to both research the history of the coin collector and restore it to its former glory. The pedestal is now painted lifeboat blue and has a small plaque which explains the history of the structure.

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