The Stevensons
Who Built the Bell Rock Lighthouse?
Stevenson v. North Carr Rocks
Robert Louis Stevenson
RLS, Erraid and
Dubh Artach

Instrument Makers and the Northern Lights
Smith, Thomas

Stevenson, Robert

Stevenson, Alan

Stevenson, David

Stevenson, Thomas

Stevenson, David A.

Stevenson, Charles

Stevenson, D. Alan

Stevenson, Dorothy
Emily (1882-1973)

D. Alan Stevenson (1891-1971)

D. Alan Stevenson's authoritative
book on world's lighthouses

David Alan (known in the family as D. Alan to differentiate between himself and his uncle David A.) was born in Edinburgh on 7th February 1891. His father Charles had married Margaret Sheriff (daughter of a general in the Indian Army) in 1889. D. Alan was educated at Edinburgh Academy and even from the earliest days he was always aware that he was destined to continue in the family business of lighthouse building. Even as early as 1906 he was taken through to the Clyde to see experimental work being done on the lights there. During the First World War, he was commissioned into the Royal Marines as Captain, and was sent on a top-secret mission to erect lights in the Dardanelles.

In 1919 he became a partner in the family firm, the eighth consecutive engineer; and although he did not know it at the time, he would also be the last! Due, more to his uncle's stubbornness more than anything else, he never did hold the official post of Engineer to the NLB. David A. continued in office until 1938, when he was then in his 80s. By that time the Board probably felt that the time of automatic succession of one of the family as Engineer was over, and appointed someone else. Alan continued with his lighthouse work, particularly with the Clyde Lighthouses Trust, for which he had a lifelong interest. In later years he busied himself with a variety of pursuits, mainly writing, and in 1959 produced "The World's Lighthouses before 1820". When he died in 1971 he was considered one of the world's greatest experts on lighthouses of the day.

Before he died in 1971, D. Alan was working on a new version of RLS's "Records of a Family of Engineers" (Chatto & Windus, 1912), but unfortunately the book was never finished. It was to be called "Some Records of R.L.S.'s Family of Engineers".

On a personal note, I had the pleasure of meeting him at his rooms in Great Stuart Street in 1965. He was pleasant and courteous, and was very interested in my own family connection with the Bell Rock. Two things I particularly remember about my visit. Firstly, was a little invention of his (a pulley type arrangement) which he used to lift light items (mainly letters) from the ground floor to his office upstairs. This no doubt was much appreciated by the "postie". Secondly, he showed me an original certificate carried by the seamen employed on the Bell Rock construction (1807-1811) to protect them from impressment into the Royal Navy. Press gangs had been very active on the east coast of Scotland at that time. In this instance, the certificate was countersigned by my great-great-great-grandfather, Captain David Taylor, who at that time commanded the "Sir Joseph Banks" tender, the vessel used to house the artificers before the beacon house was built.

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