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)

Thomas Smith (1752-1815)

Kinnaird Head -
s Daniell saw it in the early 19th century


Thomas Smith, according to the Baptismal Register of Ferryport-on-Craig (a small coastal parish in north-east Fife), was christened at Ferryport-on-Craig in December 1752, the son of Thomas Smith and Mary Kay. His father had been drowned at sea when he was a child, and it was naturally his mother's wish that young Thomas should not continue in his father's footsteps by becoming a mariner. He therefore started an apprenticeship as a metal worker with Cairns of Dundee.

It was not long, however, before he moved south to further his career in an Edinburgh full of opportunity. By the 1780s he had begun taking an interest in reflectors - at that time concerned mainly with street lighting. He had worked on perfecting his own reflecting lamp, and in 1786, when the Northern Lighthouse Board was set up, he found himself not only Edinburgh's principal lighting engineer, but also the first consultant for Scotland's newly set-up Northern Lighthouse Board.

Thomas's career continued to prosper.In 1802 he became Master of the city's ancient Incorporation of Hammermen, founded in 1483. Its membership included eight categories of metalworkers - goldsmiths, blacksmiths, tinsmiths, pewterers, cutlers, bucklemakers, armourers and lorimers. At that time, too, he became a city magistrate.

Thomas married three times. His third wife (whom he married in 1792) was Jean Stevenson, Robert Stevenson's widowed mother. By the time construction started on the Bell Rock lighthouse, Thomas had been retired from active lighthouse building some years. His apprentice and latterly partner, Robert Stevenson, had already taken over the responsibilities of lighthouse building. Thomas, however, continued to look after the Edinburgh operations, with regards to the lightroom and other fitments, for the Bell Rock works.

Lighthouses -

Kinnaird (1787)
Mull of Kintyre (1788)
North Ronaldsay (1789)
Eilean Glas (Scalpay) (1789)
Pladda (1790)
Little Cumbrae (1793)
Pentland Skerries (1794)
Cloch (1797)
Inchkeith (1804)
Start Point (1806)


Home Lighthouse The Stevenson Family Captain Taylor People Arbroath Miscellaneous Please Sign the Guestbook Site Map
Lighthouse Home The Stevenson Family Captain Taylor People Associated with the Lighthouse Arbroath Miscellaneous Please Sign the Guestbook Site Map