North Shields

Marine Captain, Pawnbroker and Gold Medal winning inventor.

Archibald Barclay Bolt was born at Lerwick, Shetland in 1841 by the age of 18 he had moved to Tyneside and was liveing in North Shields.
He arrived on Tyneside around 1859 a ships master and frequent visitor to the tyne. In 1893 he married Jane Ann Thornton of Noth Shields, Northumberland, thay had at least 12 children.
In 1918, five years after the death of his wife Jane, Archibald Barclay Bolt moved from Newcastle Upon Tyne to Okeford Fitzpaine in Dorset. He lived at Belchawell Rectory until his death on 22 July 1921 aged 81.

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Capt. A. B. Bolt's Patent Life-saving Cabin.


I beg to point a few particulars regarding my Life-saving Cabin or Deck-house:

1. - The cabin is specially designed to save life in cases of ships foundering after collision with another vessel, striking sunken rocks, icebergs, or any other cause.

2. - It is adaptable to all vessels, and is intended more especially for large ocean or pleasure steamers carrying passengers and in case of sudden foundering would act quickly and take a larger number of persons than boats, and would to a great extent alleviate the panic usuallyattending such casualties.

3. - It can be constructed on any part of the ship's deck (preferably aft), and would serve all the purposes of an ordinary cabin, being fitted up, and supplied with stores and provisions in the usual way.

4. - In case of ships sinking, the whole cabin detached from the deck by the Captain or officer in charge simply turning a wheel (similar to a steering wheel), which can be fitted on the cabin itself, on the bridge, or any other part of the vessel, and the windows are so constructed that water-tight shutters are run up simultaneously all round the house at the same time as the cabin is being detached.

5. - The disconnecting gear is a series of levers worked by connecting rods running the entire length and breadth of the cabin; these are placed between the floor of the cabin and the deck and are entirely out of sight and protected from dirt etc., and yet are readily accessible for examination, oiling, etc.

6. - Extra stability is given to the house by "Keelsons" placed on the deck and the cabin alternately, these also prevent the house moving until the levers are drawn and I prefer to arrange it internally with berths against the side of the saloon in the centre and seats at the sides, the space under seats forming ballast tanks, which may be utilized for storing water, provisions, etc.

7. - The cabin deck will be fitted with seats, under which are placed air-tanks, this gives more buoyancy, and prevents any danger of the cabin capsizing if the ship goes down in an inclined position.

8. - The awning "boom" is readily converted into a mast and the awning into sails, and a considerable distance could be navigated in the cabin itself.

9. - The advantages of my cabin over boats in cases of ships foundering are incalculable, viz. : no exposure, no transhipment of water and provisions necessary, no ropes or other likely entanglements are used in any part, no capsizing possible, and the disconnecting process is almost instantaneous.

10. - The extra cost of my cabin over an ordinary cabin would be in the disconnecting gear only, but against this I would point out that when my invention is adopted less boats will be required. I shall be glad to show the Model and give you any further particulars if you will favour me with a call.

Yours truly.

A. B. Bolt

P.S. - By a later patent I have arranged that the Cabin top (deck) can be disconnected to form a raft, and a lifeboat is also provided so that there is means of conveying passengers ashore if the cabin drifts on to rocks.