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)

David A. Stevenson (1854-1938)

The Flannans - the "Marie Celeste"
of the lighthouse world

David Alan Stevenson was born 21 July 1854 in Forth Street, not all that far from the old family residence in Baxter Place. David and his younger brother Charles, were educated at Edinburgh Academy, and by 1877 both had graduated B.Sc.s in Engineering at Edinburgh University. They were well on their way to partnership in the family business! By 1878, David was already a paid Assistant . . . but still very much learning the "tricks of the trade".

Unfortunately, both his father and uncle Tom had been suffering from illnesses which had taken them away from the office for long periods at a time, and, in 1881, when their father took ill, the two brothers were hardly experienced enough to take over the full running of the firm. Fortunately, Alan Brebner, a son of one of the Bell Rock masons, had recently become a fully-fledged engineer, so he was promptly co-opted into the business as partner. Over the years, Brebner had played a major role (even to the extent of being in sole charge) in the construction of many lighthouses, including Chicken Rock (off the southern tip of the Isle of Man) and Dubh Artach. David, Sen. died in 1886 and Tom the following year, Brebner also died suddenly in 1890, thus leaving the two brothers in sole charge. David A. assumed the position of Engineer to the Northern Lighthouse Board as early as 1885 and remained in the post until 1938.

In 1892 he married Ann Roberts (a relative of the Field Marshall Lord Roberts) but had only two daughters. Probably disappointed in the fact that he had no son, could well have affected his decision to stay in the post for so long, thus in the long run affecting his nephew's chances of succeeding to the post of Engineer!

In 1930, he wrote of his grandfather's premier achievement: "The Bell Rock Lighthouse is now the oldest seawashed tower in existence, and the masonry stands exactly as Stevenson designed and completed it. It has required no repair whatever during the 119 years which have elapsed since it was built." There have been changes made to the House since that time (mainly interior) - see section "Since 1811"

Lighthouses (with Thomas) -

Fidra (1885)
Oxcar (1886)
Ailsa Craig (1886)

(with Charles)

Skaddan and Skroo (Fair Isle) (1892)
Helliar Holm (1893)
Sule Skerry (1895)
Rattray Head (1895)
Stroma (1896)
Tod Head (1897)
Noup Head (1898)
Flannan Isles (1899)
Tiumpan Head (1900)
Killantringan (1900)
Barns Ness (1901)
Bass Rock (1903)
Hyskeir (1904)
Trodday (1908)
Neist Point (1909)
Rubh Re (1912)
Milaid Point (1912)
Maughold Head (1914)
Copinsay (1915)
Clyth Ness (1916)
Duncansby Head (1924)
Esha Ness (1929)
Tor Ness (1937)


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