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Bell Rock Lighthouse
Transcript of Bell Rock Lighthouse
Who, what, where, why, when?
Who: The Bell Rock Lighthouse was built by Robert Stevenson.
What: It is the world's oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse.
Where: Off the coast of Angus in Scotland.
Why: Bell Rock was a dangerous area so the lighthouse was built for safety purposes
When: Between 1807 and 1810
On September the 3rd, 1987, the lighthouse went on fire. This was caused by the overflowing of a fuel pipe inside of the building, and due to the gas being on in the kitchen, the fumes ignited. The kitchen was gutted and the control and light room were extremely damaged, but the lower floors only suffered smoke damage. The structure of the building was fine and there were only repairs to be done and no rebuilding. None of the keepers were hurt.
•The lamp of the Lighthouse was first lit on 1st February 1811.
•Bell Rock Lighthouse is the oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse in the whole world.
•After two years, the tower only stood at a height of 6 feet, presently,
the Lighthouse is 35 meters high, with its light being visible from 55 kilometers inland.
•The masonry work under Bell Rock Lighthouse has not been replaced or adapted even once in almost 200 years of its existence.
•The lamps and reflectors were replaced in 1843.
•Bell Rock Signal Tower was constructed in 1813.
•Bell Rock Signal Tower houses Signal Tower Museum, where you can find the history of the lighthouse.
•A total of about 2500 Aberdeen granite stones were used in the construction of the Bell Rock Lighthouse.
•The Lighthouse is the last sea tower to be built in the days of sail.
•John Rennie was the Chief Engineer of the Lighthouse, who visited it only twice during the entire period of construction.
•The construction of the Bell Rock Lighthouse could only take place during summer, as the tides were low.
•The first stone of Bell Rock Lighthouse was laid on the 9th of July in 1808.
•The working of the Lighthouse has been automated since 1998.
•At the time, the project cost Stevenson 42,685 Sterling Pounds.
By Aoife McAnulty
Robert Stevenson was born in Glasgow, Scotland on the 8th of June 1872. His father Alan Stevenson was a partner in a West India trading house in the city. After the passing of Robert's dad and uncle, his mother sent him to the same school as Mr. Macintyre. However, during Robert's fifteenth year, his widowed mother, Jane Lillie married Thomas Smith. Smith was a tinsmith, lamp maker and ingenious mechanic, who had been appointed engineer to the newly formed Northern Lighthouse Board, in 1786. Robert served as Smith's assistant, and was so successful that he was entrusted to supervise the building of a lighthouse on the island of Little Cumbrae, at age 19. He was determined and applied himself to the practice of surveying and architectural drawing. He attended lectures in mathematics and physical sciences at the Andersonian Institute at Glasgow. However he did not take a degree due to his poor knowledge if Latin and the fact that he didn't know Greek. In 1797 he was appointed engineer to the Lighthouse Board and then in 1799 he married Smith's eldest daughter Jean, who was also his stepsister. In 1800 Robert was adopted as Smith's business partner.
Bell Rock Lighthouse
during the day
Bell Rock Lighthouse
During the Second World War the Bell Rock was machine-gunned by enemy aircraft, on the 31st October 1940, 30th March 1941 and on April 5th. Fortunately no-one was injured, and the damage consisted of nine bullet holes through the dome, fourteen lantern panes broken, four lens prisms damaged, six red shades smashed, and one balcony tank and rail damaged.
Not long after it had been built, on the 20th of September, 1811 a temporary stove in the kitchen went on fire and the heat caused some panes in the light room window to crack. It was a minor incident.
In December 1955, a helicopter on a routine training flight from RAF Leuchars crashed into the lantern tower. While manoeuvering into position over the lighthouse something went wrong and the helicopter plunged out of control. By a miracle the keepers were unhurt, but the helicopter in its descent hit the copper dome, denting the plating. It also demolished a number of glass lantern panes, and distorted some of the bronze astragals.The helicopter and its crew were lost and the light was out of action for a week. Assistant Lightkeeper R. T. Wood, who tried to rescue the airmen, received the Queen’s commendation for bravery.
Also on the of 1st April 1941, a bomb was dropped which exploded about 10 yards from the base of the tower. However no damage was done. During 1941 the Bell Rock was not the only lighthouse to receive visits from enemy aircraft.
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