Here are some facts about Grace Darling, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter who was famous for her role in rescuing the survivors of the Forfarshire shipwreck in 1838.
- Grace Darling was born on 24th November 1815 in Bamburgh, Northumberland.
- William Darling, Grace’s father was the main keeper of the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands (a group of islands off the coast of Northumberland). Grace’s mother was called Thomasin.
- Grace, her parents and her brothers and sisters, lived in the Longstone Lighthouse.
- On 6th September 1838 a massive storm wrecked the SS Forfarshire about 3/4 of a mile from the Longstone Lighthouse. Early on 7th September, Grace’s father, William, assessed the situation and decided that he needed to try and rescue any survivors. His sons weren’t at the lighthouse, so he took Grace with him in their rowing boat. Between them, they managed to rescue nine survivors.
- The Victorian newspapers loved the story of the rescue of the survivors of the SS Forfarshire shipwreck, and they made the most of Grace’s role and she became a celebrity.
- Grace Darling received a personal letter from Queen Victoria and a reward of £50. She also got lots of fan-mail asking for locks of her hair or pieces of the dress she wore on 7th October 1838.
- In Victorian England, it was possible to buy Grace Darling themed plates, postcards and even boxes of chocolates!
- Grace Darling died of tuberculosis on 20th October 1842. She was buried in a family grave in St Aidan’s Churchyard, Bamburgh. A monument to her was built in St Aidan’s churchyard.
- In 1880, Thomasina, Grace Darling’s sister, published a book called Grace Darling: Her True Story, which aimed to describe the real Grace without any of the exaggeration. It didn’t sell very many copies as the public wanted to believe that Grace Darling was nothing but an angelic, daring heroine.