A Chronicle in Black and White

Object 74: A History of Charterhouse in 100 Objects

Object 74 in the Charterhouse in 100 Objects series is this original pen, ink and chalk drawing by Kenneth Bedingfield Preston (D1910) showing a lifeboat crew on a shout. 

The illustration was published with an article in The Greyfriar magazine about the christening of the Charterhouse Lifeboat in Fishguard, 15 December 1909; the artist was one of a group of pupils and teachers who travelled to Wales for the launch. The lifeboat was funded by current and former pupils and staff and was the first time a public school had presented the RNLI with a lifeboat. The boat itself was at the forefront of technology at the time and was fitted with new technologies including a petrol engine and buoyancy tanks.

During its time in service, it saved the lives of 47 sailors while undertaking heroic rescues. It was finally stood down from service in 1931. Funds are now being raised to restore the vessel and display it at the West Wales Maritime History Museum.

The Greyfriar was first published in 1884 with the aim of promoting ‘the interests of Art and Literature in the School’ by featuring illustrations by pupils, teachers and Old Carthusians, alongside articles on a range of topics – from natural history to local history and beyond.   

It was intended to be completely distinct from The Carthusian, although at first there were some complaints that they were too similar, with one letter appearing in The Carthusian stating ‘there is too much letterpress in The Greyfriar, and not enough of the lighter sort of illustrations’.

                     Drawing by W B Potter (H1887),                                                                 Cartoon by Max Beerbohm (g1890)                                    Greyfriar vol IV 1901                                                                                          Greyfriar vol II 1890                      

Famous contributors to the volumes include WB Potter (brother of children’s author, Beatrix Potter), Robert Baden Powell (founder of the Scout movement) and Max Beerbohm (cartoonist).

Find out more about the Charterhouse lifeboat restoration project here:



Author: Miss Rebecca Grafton, Archives Assistant