HF Bailey at Henry Blogg Museum, Rocket House - photo credits RNLI (editorial use only).jpg

Date published: 14th May 2024

The Henry Blogg Museum in Cromer will remain open during the summer ahead of essential work taking place at the museum’s home in the Rocket House.

Visitors to Cromer will be able to enjoy the museum, named after the RNLI’s most decorated crew member, throughout the school holidays before the collection is moved temporarily in the autumn for repair and restoration works.

Arrangements were agreed this week between the RNLI and North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) for the collection, which includes historic lifeboat H.F Bailey, to remain in place until the autumn.

The museum aims to take up a temporary home, which the search is underway for, during works and staff and volunteers are appealing for the help of local people to find a location.

NNDC recently committed £1m-worth of funding for the restoration at the Rocket House.

RNLI Heritage Development Manager Jacqui Palmer said:

“I’m delighted we’re staying throughout the summer and offering visitors our usual outstanding experience – 2024 is set to have an extra sparkle as it’s our 200th year and Henry Blogg, who we’re named after, is a vital part of our past.

“Henry spent more than 50 years saving lives at sea from Cromer. Visitors can see artefacts, including the lifeboat he coxswained during World War II, and get involved in activities telling the story of Henry and others who’ve contributed to lifesaving across the generations.

“We’re also excited for our future at the Rocket House once repairs are complete. In the meantime, we aim to make it a fantastic summer and prepare for our temporary move. We still need a home while building repairs happen so please contact us, if you know of somewhere locally – even a site where we could put up a temporary structure is of interest.”

Cllr Tim Adams, Leader of North Norfolk District Council, commented:

“The issues surrounding the future of the RNLI Museum, the Rocket House Café, accessible lift, and public toilet provision within the Rocket House have been a concern many residents and visitors in recent months. I am grateful to the RNLI, particularly the volunteers locally, and to all Council staff who have worked hard to secure the future of building.

"I am most of all grateful to the numerous RNLI families across the District and beyond have shown great forbearance as we sought to resolve these issues, which have been the subject of significant scrutiny and discussion.

“Our attention here as a Council is now on carrying out the works required to the building later in the year. This is a significant project for the Council, and we will aim to reduce impacts on our tenants and visitors as much as possible. The works do require the removal of Museum artifacts, and of course the nationally significant HF Bailey which we expect to be a spectacle itself when this occurs following the summer."

North Norfolk MP, Duncan Baker, commented:

“I am delighted that both the Council and the RNLI are able to reach agreement and reassure everyone that the Bailey is safe for the future. As I have said many times and on the record in Parliament, the Bailey belongs in Cromer and belongs to the people of Cromer. It is the most famous lifeboat in RNLI history, used by the most decorated lifeboatman and son of Cromer, Henry Blogg.

“This agreement to safeguard the building and keep the Bailey in its home, is absolutely the right decision for North Norfolk.”

The RNLI had been due to leave the building in July but a new short-term lease was agreed by NNDC’s Cabinet on Monday 13 May.

RNLI staff and volunteers are working to identify a temporary location because they are committed to keeping the heritage collection in Cromer during works, given the significance of Henry Blogg to the town and the RNLI’s history. However, at this stage, no location has been identified.

Last updated: 14th May 2024