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A model of this craft was displayed at the 1851 International Exhibition in London; it attracted considerable attention.
The concept of the boat was mentioned to Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort.
Shipbuilder John Coombes bought what is now the Berthon site in 1667, described then as “all that piece of mud or sea oozy land, bounded on the North by the town slip, on the East by the sea or river, and on the West by the King’s highway”.
Estate agents obviously weren’t what they are today!
John Rogerys owned the shipyard from 1513; he later sold to Charles Guidot.
In 1667 it was bought by John Coombes, all the while continuing the building of wooden ships.
He also became Chaplain at Whale Island Portsmouth where H. He considered that larger boats than the model exhibited in 1851 could be viable and they should be unsinkable.
In 1841 Berthon entered Magdalene College Cambridge to take up theological studies.Several disastrous events occurred at sea during the 1870’s with great loss of life due to insufficient lifeboats being available. The largest was capable of carrying seventy five persons. In 1873 he was awarded a Gold Medal for the boat which was shown at the International Exhibition London.In 1873 Berthon constructed a shed in the large vicarage garden to meet what he perceived to be an increasing demand for the collapsible boats. The collapsible boats soon became popular, the smaller, seven to twelve foot range serving as yacht tenders and the larger mainly as lifeboats.Berthon has been trading continuously since 1877, and occupies a riverside site mentioned in the Domesday Book.Click on the date tabs below to see how the company has developed over the years.