William Wouldhave (or Willie Woolhave) (1751–1821), plumber, glazier and parish clerk of South Shields
c.1789 Invented a life-boat, though it was patented by Henry Francis Greathead
Also invented the first safety-lamp that Isaac Dodds had ever seen, which was like a large parrot cage enclosing a glass lamp, the air being supplied by bellows worked by the collier’s knees, using the air from the lowest strata. Dr. Clanny brought out a lamp about the same time, but Dodds believed the idea was derived from Mr. Woolhave.
Early 1800s: taught Isaac Dodds.
On the death of Woolhave, the inhabitants of South Shields raised a subscription for a tombstone, on which was carved the life-boat.
Entries on Ancestry:
There is a memorial to William Wouldhave in the former graveyard of St. Hilda's in South Shields.
There is also a Wouldhave Memorial, at the South Shields Pier Head, for his part in the invention of the self-righting lifeboat.
Best of all there is a Weatherspoons pub in South Shields named after William, call 'The Wouldhave'.
William Wouldhave of South Shields entered into a competition to find the best design for a boat to save lives. With cork inside, his lifeboat was designed to be self-righting if overturned in stormy seas. Although Wouldhave's design came second place in the competition, he is credited by many as the 'inventor of the lifeboat'.
Sources of Information
- Biography of Henry Greathead, ODNB