Stevenson engineers

For over one hundred and fifty years Robert Stevenson and his descendants designed most of Scotland’s Lighthouses. Battling against the odds and the elements – the Stevensons constructed wonders of engineering that have withstood the test of time, an amazing historical achievement.

The National Library of Scotland hold a collection of of 619 items in 80 volumes from the archive of the civil engineering firm of Robert Stevenson, his three sons Alan, David and Thomas, and later generations of the family.

Lighthouses built by Thomas Smith

* With Robert Stevenson

Kinnaird Head 1787
Mull of Kintyre 1788
North Ronaldsay 1789
Tay Lights
Eilean Glas 1789
Pladda 1790
Leith Pier
Port Patrick 1790
Little Cumbrae 1793
Pentland Skerries 1794
Cloch* 1797
Inchkeith* 1804
Start Point* 1806

Robert StevensonRobert Stevenson was born on 8 June 1772 in Glasgow and died on 12 July 1850. He was the son of Alan Stevenson, a partner in a West India House.

The first mention of Robert Stevenson in connection with the Northern Lighthouse Board was when Thomas Smith, the Engineer, in 1794, entrusted Robert Stevenson with the Superintendence of the erection of Pentland Skerries Lighthouse. Prior to this in 1791 Stevenson had held a similar position in the erection of a Lighthouse on Little Cumbrae in the River Clyde (Clyde Lighthouse). This connection soon led to his adoption as Smith’s partner, which he enjoyed until his appointment as Sole Engineer in 1808. Smith was in fact Stevenson’s stepfather as his own father Alan, had died in 1774, and his mother had remarried to Thomas Smith.

During his term in office as Engineer to the Board from 1808 until 1842, he was responsible for the erection of at least 15 major Lighthouses. Of these was one which transpired to be the most important work of his life and one which undoubtedly is of notable engineering achievement, namely the Bell Rock Lighthouse.

Many Irish Lighthouses and Lighthouses in the colonies were fitted with apparatus prepared under the superintendence of Robert Stevenson. He was also an inventor of intermittent and flashing lights, for the latter of which he received from the King of the Netherlands, a gold medal as a mark of his Majesty’s approbation.

Robert Stevenson’s fame was not confined only to Lighthouses, as among other things he was responsible for the design of London and Regent Roads in Edinburgh, the Hutcheson Bridge in Glasgow, railway lines etc, etc.

Lighthouses built by Robert Stevenson

Prior to 1808 Robert Stevenson assisted Thomas Smith with Cloch, Inchkeith and Start Point

Bell Rock Lighthouse 1811
Toward Point 1812
Isle of May 1816
Corsewall 1817
Point of Ayre 1818
Calf of Man 1818
Sumburgh Head 1821
Rinns of Islay 1825
Buchan Ness 1827
Cape Wrath 1828
Tarbat Ness 1830
Mull of Galloway 1830
Dunnet Head 1831
Douglas Head 1832
Girdle Ness 1833
Barra Head 1833
Lismore 1833

Lighthouses built by Alan Stevenson

Little Ross 1843
Isle of May (Leading Light) 1844
Skerryvore 1844
Covesea Skerries 1846
Chanonry Point 1846
Cromarty 1846
Loch Ryan 1847
Noss Head 1849
Ardnamurchan 1849
Sanda 1850
Hoy High 1851
Hoy Low 1851
Arnish Point (Stornoway) 1853

 

Lighthouses built by David & Thomas StevensonDavid Stevenson

** Without Thomas Stevenson

    • Out Skerries** 1854
    • Muckle Flugga** 1854
    • Davaar** 1854
    • Ushenish 1857
    • Rona 1857
    • Kyleakin 1857
    • Isle of Ornsay 1857
    • Inchcolm 1858
    • Rubha Nan Gall 1857
    • Cantick Head 1858
    • Bressay 1858
    • Ruvaal 1859
    • Corran 1860
    • Fladda 1860
    • McArthurs Head 1861
    • St Abb’s Head 1862
    • Holburn Head 1862
    • Butt of Lewis 1862
    • Monach Isles 1864
    • Skervuile 1865
    • Auskerry 1867
    • Loch Indaal 1869
    • Scurdie Ness 1870
    • Stoer Head 1870
    • Dubh Artach 1872
    • Turnberry 1873
    • Chickens Rock 1875
    • Holy Island (Inner) 1877
    • Langness 1880

Thomas Stevenson

Lighthouses built by David & Thomas Stevenson

** Without Thomas Stevenson

  • Out Skerries** 1854
  • Muckle Flugga** 1854
  • Davaar**  1854
  • Ushenish 1857
  • Rona 1857
  • Kyleakin 1857
  • Isle of Ornsay 1857
  • Inchcolm 1858
  • Rubha Nan Gall 1857
  • Cantick Head 1858
  • Bressay 1858
  • Ruvaal 1859
  • Corran 1860
  • Fladda 1860
  • McArthurs Head 1861
  • St Abb’s Head 1862
  • Holburn Head 1862
  • Butt of Lewis 1862
  • Monach 1864
  • Skervuile 1865
  • Auskerry 1867
  • Loch Indaal 1869
  • Scurdie Ness 1870
  • Stoer Head 1870
  • Dubh Artach 1872
  • Turnberry 1873
  • Chickens Rock 1875
  • Holy Island (Inner) 1877
  • Langness 1880

Thomas and David A Stevenson

  • Fidra 1885
  • Oxcar 1886
  • Ailsa Craig 1886

Lighthouses built by David A Stevenson and Thomas Stevenson

  • Fidra 1885
  • Oxcar 1886
  • Ailsa Craig 1886

Lighthouses built by David A Stevenson

  • Greys Rocks 1890
  • Dubh Sgeir 1891
  • Weaver Point 1891
  • Sgeir Leadh 1891
  • Calvay 1891
  • Dunollie 1892
  • Crowlin 1892
  • Kyle Rhea 1892
  • Fair Isle South 1892
  • Fair Isle North 1892
  • Reisa an t’Struit
  • Carloway 1892
  • Helliar Holm 1893
  • Heston Island 1893
  • Fugla Ness 1893
  • Eyre Point 1893
  • Dunvegan 1893
  • Vaila Sound 1894
  • Loch Eribol 1894
  • Rattray Head 1895
  • Skerry of Ness 1895
  • Hillswisk 1895
  • Balta Sound 1895
  • Sule Skerry 1895
  • Stroma 1896
  • Tod Head 1897
  • Scarinish 1897
  • No Ness 1897
  • Muckle Roe 1897
  • Cava 1898
  • Noup Head 1898
  • Flannans 1899
  • Tiumpan Head 1900
  • Greinam 1900
  • Killantringan 1900
  • Duart Point 1901
  • Barns Ness 1901
  • Bunessan 1901
  • Hoxa head 1901
  • Bass Rock 1903
  • Scalasaig 1903
  • Lady Isle 1903
  • The Garvellachs 1904
  • Suther Ness 1904
  • Whitehill 1904
  • Sgeir Bhuidhe 1904
  • Mull of Eswick 1904
  • Craigton Point 1904
  • Symbister Ness 1904
  • Rova Head 1904
  • Hyskeir 1904
  • Ardtrek 1904
  • Roseness 1905
  • Holy Island (Outer) 1905
  • Swona 1906
  • Green Island 1906
  • Ruadh Sgeir 1906
  • Eigg 1906
  • Lady Rock 1907
  • Eilean a’ Chuirn 1907
  • Papa Stronsay 1907
  • Canna 1907
  • Elie Ness 1908
  • Ornsay Beacon 1908
  • Eilean Trodday 1908
  • Firths Voe 1909
  • Cairns of Coll 1909
  • Ruff Reef 1909
  • Ness of Sound 1909
  • Calf of Eday 1909
  • Dubh Sgeir 1910
  • Sandaig 1910
  • Lother Rock 1910
  • Neist Point 1909
  • Na Cuiltean 1911
  • Rubh’ Reidh 1912
  • Milaid Point 1912
  • Crammag Head 1913
  • Cairnbulg Briggs 1914
  • Maughold Head 1914
  • Copinsay 1915
  • Clythness 1916
  • Vaternish 1924
  • Duncansby Head 1924
  • Brough of Birsay 1925
  • Ardtornish 1927
  • Carragh Mhor 1928
  • Esha Ness 1929
  • Sleat Point 1934
  • Torness 1937
  • Rubh Uisenis 1938

Charles Stevenson

Lighthouses built by Charles Stevenson

David A (and Charles) Stevenson

  • Greys Rocks 1890
  • Dubh Sgeir 1891
  • Weaver Point 1891
  • Sgeir Leadh 1891
  • Calvay 1891
  • Dunollie 1892
  • Crowlin 1892
  • Kylerhea 1892
  • Fair Isle South 1892
  • Fair Isle North 1892
  • Reisa an t’Struit
  • Carloway 1892
  • Helliar Holm 1893
  • Heston Island 1893
  • Fugla Ness 1936
  • Eyre Point 1938
  • Dunvegan 1893
  • Vaila Sound 1894
  • Loch Eribol 1894
  • Rattray Head 1895
  • Skerry of Ness 1895
  • Hillswisk 1895
  • Balta Sound 1895
  • Sule Skerry 1895
  • Stroma 1896
  • Tod Head 1897
  • Scarinish 1897
  • Muckle Roe 1897
  • Cava 1898
  • Noup Head 1898
  • Flannans 1899
  • Tiumpan Head 1900
  • Killantringan 1900
  • Duart Point 1901
  • Barns Ness 1901
  • Bunessan 1901
  • Hoxa head 1901
  • Bass Rock 1903
  • Lady Isle 1903
  • The Garvellachs 1904
  • Suther Ness 1904
  • Whitehill 1904
  • Sgeir Bhuidhe 1904
  • Mull of Eswick 1904
  • Craigton Point 1904
  • Symbister Ness 1904
  • Rova Head 1904
  • Hyskeir 1904
  • Roseness 1905
  • Holy Island (Outer) 1905
  • Swona 1906
  • Green Island 1906
  • Ruadh Sgeir 1906
  • Eigg 1906
  • Lady Rock 1907
  • Eilean a’ Chuirn 1907
  • Papa Stronsay 1907
  • Canna 1907
  • Elie Ness 1908
  • Ornsay Beacon 1908
  • Eilean Trodday 1908
  • Firths Voe 1909
  • Cairns of Coll 1909
  • Ruff Reef 1909
  • Ness of Sound 1909
  • Calf of Eday 1909
  • Dubh Sgeir 1910
  • Sandaig 1910
  • Lowther Rock 1910
  • Neist Point 1909
  • Na Cuiltean 1911
  • Rubh’ Re 1912
  • Milaid Point 1912
  • Crammag Head 1913
  • Cairnbulg Briggs 1914
  • Maughold Head 1914
  • Copinsay 1915
  • Clythness 1916
  • Vaternish 1924
  • Duncansby Head 1924
  • Brough of Birsay 1925
  • Ardtornish 1927
  • Carragh Mhor 1928
  • Esha Ness 1929
  • Sleat Point 1934
  • Torness 1937
  • Rubh Uisenis