ON 12th OCTOBER 2012 a unique tartan, designed by Steven Patrick Sim, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse was officially registered and recognised as a new tartan by The Scottish Register of Tartans, in Edinburgh. Steven, a tartan designer based in Arbroath, was inspired by the various commemorative events marking the Bell Rock anniversary, and using various facts associated with the building of the light as design elements, produced the new tartan. The design and background research was presented to the Board of Commissioners in September 2012 and it was agreed, once the tartan was registered, it would be adopted as its official corporate tartan.
The official presentation of the Bell Rock Lighthouse tartan to Roger Lockwood (chairman of the Northern Lighthouse, Board, Edinburgh) at the Signal Tower Museum in Arbroath, formerly the shore station of the Bell Rock lightkeepers and the crew of the lighthouse supply vessel.
Front: Roger Lockwood (NLB) receiving the certificate from Steven Sim (tartan designer). Rear row from the left: John F. Boath (last principal lightkeeper), Harry Simpson (Chairman of the Year of the Light committee); the Earl of Southesk (patron of the Year of the Light); David Taylor (Bell Rock Lighthouse website - www.bellrock.org.uk - YOL committee and descended from a builder of the lighthouse); Ian Lamb (member of the committee); and Councillor Jean Gall.
200th Anniversary Commemorative Tartan - 1st February 2011
BY STEVEN PATRICK SIM
The tartan was designed to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the BELL ROCK LIGHTHOUSE, first lit on 1st February 1811. Owned and operated by the Northern Lighthouse Board, the lighthouse lies on the treacherous Inchcape Rock (also called Bell Rock), 11 miles off Arbroath, on the Scottish east coast. Designed and built by John Rennie and Robert Stevenson, but regarded as essentially Robert Stevenson's greatest engineering achievement. The lighthouse stands 35 metres tall. Built with a work force of approximately 110 men, the challenges faced in its construction led to it being described as one of the "Seven Wonders of the Industrial World".
The tartan was approved by the Northern Lighthouse Board and adopted as its official corporate tartan on 12th October 2012.
The tartan design reflects the flashing lights of the lighthouse: white for the primary, white light, and red for the secondary, red light (when first put into operation the lighthouse flashed an alternating white and red light).
The muted dark blue and black shades represent the treacherous dark North Sea at night. Solid black commemorates the 1000s of lives lost on Inchcape Rock as well as the men who died during the construction of the lighthous
The geometry of the tartan creates two different impressions of the lighthouse on the horizon: when flashing white and when flashing red. When flashing white, 90 threads between the black and white represent the 90 courses of stone blocks that make up the tower. When flashing red, the lighthouse is represented at a greater distance, standing on the horizon.To build the lighthouse a number of railways were constructed on the rock totransport the massive blocks of stone. The longest railway (terminating towards the west of Inchcape Rock at Hope's Wharf) extended for 290 feet, represented in the pattern of the tartan, which has a total of 290 threads. The Right Honourable Charles Hope, Lord President of the Court of Session, initiated the building of the lighthouse in 1803, when he presented the first bill to Parliament, although it was not until 1806 that the bill was finally passed.
Above: Steven Patrick Sim
at the Arbroath Signal Tower
More information on the Tartan Artisan's Bell Rock and Red Lichtie tartans can be accessed below