The Lighthouse Stevensons: The extraordinary story of the building of the Scottish lighthouses by the ancestors of Robert Louis Stevenson

I for one had no idea that the 14 lighthouses dotting the Scottish coast were all built by the same Stevenson family that produced Robert Louis Stevenson, Scotland s most famous novelist But Bella Bathurst throws a powerful, revolving light into the darkness of this historical tradition Robert Louis was a sickly fellow, and unlike the rest of his strong willed, determiI for one had no idea that the 14 lighthouses dotting the Scottish coast were all built by the same Stevenson family that produced Robert Louis Stevenson, Scotland s most famous novelist But Bella Bathurst throws a powerful, revolving light into the darkness of this historical tradition Robert Louis was a sickly fellow, and unlike the rest of his strong willed, determined family certainly not up to the astonishing rigours of lighthouse building, all of which are vividly described here To build these towering structures in the most inhospitable places imaginable such as the aptly named Cape Wrath , using only 19th century technology is an achievement that beggars belief The comparison that comes to mind is with the pyramid building of ancient Egypt For instance, we learn that the ground rocks for the Skerryvore lighthouse were prepared by hand even though the gneiss could blunt a pick in three blows in waves and winds strong enough to lift a man bodily off the rock and that it took 120 hours to dress a single stone for the outside of the tower and 320 hours to dress one of the central stones In total 5000 tons of stone were quarried and shipped and all by hand It is mind boggling stuff you ll look at lighthouses with a new respect Adam Roberts
The Lighthouse Stevensons The extraordinary story of the building of the Scottish lighthouses by the ancestors of Robert Louis Stevenson I for one had no idea that the lighthouses dotting the Scottish coast were all built by the same Stevenson family that produced Robert Louis Stevenson Scotland s most famous novelist But Bella Bat

  • Title: The Lighthouse Stevensons: The extraordinary story of the building of the Scottish lighthouses by the ancestors of Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Author: Bella Bathurst
  • ISBN: 9780006530763
  • Page: 292
  • Format: Paperback
  • Bell Rock Lighthouse The Bell Rock Lighthouse, off the coast of Angus, Scotland, is the world s oldest surviving sea washed lighthouse It was built between and by Robert Stevenson on the Bell Rock also known as Inchcape in the North Sea, miles km east of the Firth of Tay.Standing metres ft tall, its light is visible from statute miles km inland. Lighthouses Robert Louis Stevenson The Stevenson family s involvement in lighthouse engineering began with RLS s grandfather, Robert Stevenson . Lighthouse A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses and to serve as a navigational aid for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways. Lighthouses mark dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals, reefs, rocks and safe entries to harbors they also assist in aerial navigation.Once widely used, the number of operational Bell Rock Lighthouse Bellrock Welcome The Bell Rock Lighthouse the end of the day See here for Ian Cowe s website The Bell Rock Lighthouse now an Historic Civil Engineering Landmark built on a semi submerged reef miles off the east coast of Scotland Cromarty Live Maritime Information Cromarty Maritime Information Throughout its history Cromarty has been defined by its proximity to the sea Today, the Cromarty Firth still provides livelihood and leisure for those who live in and visit our town. The Razorback Explore Great Ocean Road The Razorback is yet another rock formation that one can view when visiting the Loch Ard Gorge precinct It lies along the same path that takes one from the parking lot to Tom and Eva, and lies a further minutes walk up the path. The name is given to a limestone stack that stands in a cove that is constantly subjected to the forces of wind and water erosion of the Southern Ocean. History of the Stevenson Stephenson Stephen Clan Stevenson Stephenson Stephen Background Many of the clan family reference books have ignored the name Stevenson, which is surprising as it is such a well known and frequently found surname. The Grotto Explore Great Ocean Road After a long day of driving, most people have run out of steam by the time they reach the Grotto If there was ever a situation where the statement of saving the best for last was true, this would be it. Family Robert Louis Stevenson He is particularly significant because of his biography on RLS, The Life of Robert Louis Stevenson . Robert Louis Stevenson British author Britannica Early life Stevenson was the only son of Thomas Stevenson, a prosperous civil engineer, and his wife, Margaret Isabella Balfour His poor health made regular schooling difficult, but he attended Edinburgh Academy and other schools before, at age , entering Edinburgh University, where he was expected to prepare himself for the family profession of lighthouse engineering.

    1 thought on “The Lighthouse Stevensons: The extraordinary story of the building of the Scottish lighthouses by the ancestors of Robert Louis Stevenson”

    1. This is a nice and friendly book, it is a discussion of the Stevenson family, starting really with Robert Stevenson, grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson, that concentrate around four great lighthouses whose construction was designed and overseen by members of the family: Bell Rock which made Robert Stevenson's reputation, Skerryvore the work of his son Alan Stevenson, Muckle Flugga, the work of another son David Stevenson (whose sons also became lighthouse engineers), and Dubh Artach, where wo [...]

    2. Read this after watching a programme about the Bell Rock Lighthouse, one of the lighthouses mentioned in the book. In awe of the man who designed this and the men who built it over 200 years ago.To discover the family were engineers who designed and built some of the most well known lighthouses was fascinating, though I'm pleased that RLS decided to write books like Treasure Island and Kidnapped.

    3. The Lighthouse Stevensons in the story of the many generations of Stevensons whose priority was with the Scottish lighthouse building. In the 18th century Thomas Smith married Robert Stevenson’s widowed mother which merged their two families, and thus began from scratch the building of the lighthouses in Scotland. Of the hundred thousand or so people employed on the sea in the 1750s, between 30% to 40% would not have survived to see old age. Those who escaped death through disease, ill treatme [...]

    4. Still good the second time around. I really like this book.I much preferred reading about Robert and Alan. Maybe that's because they were earlier on and so had to come up with creative solutions to problems instead of just building standard lighthouses in later years. Or maybe because the author didn't give as much time to the later Stevensons. It seems like she got tired of writing by the end of the book. Or maybe they were just more interesting people.I could have done without the last chapter [...]

    5. Interesting. I had never realized that whole villages relied on wrecks for their living, so they would be against building lighthouses. And even some sailors didn't want them - they were accustomed to short, dangerous lives, and trying to make sailing safer seemed like messing with God's plans. It's a disturbing thought that people would stand by and watch sailors drown, because interfering might upset God, and they would sometimes even hold sailors under, because obviously God wrecked the ship [...]

    6. OK, there's a fair train of thought in composing this review. Basically:If you read one book about the building of the main and most ambitious and challenging Scottish lighthouses make it this one.Which poses the question: why do you want to read this? You bought this, and that book about sheep (Counting Sheep, more to follow) is this a mid life crisis? Probably. Does enjoying it make it worse or better though?This is an accessible book that concentrates on the human story of the family who buil [...]

    7. A thoroughly enthralling book on the building of many of the lighthouses around the Scottish coast. Of course, the famous Stevenson family were responsible but thankfully RLS decided that the life of an engineer was not for him. In fairness he did give it a try but couldn't wait to get out and start writing and in addition he did pen 'A Family of Engineers' that recorded the Stevenson family tradition in the field, or more appropriately on the water.Bella Bathurst's inspiring account of the men [...]

    8. Everything you didn't know you wanted to know about how the lighthouses of Scotland got built by the the Stevenson family of engineers - the one that also produced the writer Robert Louis. Reading this book I learned, once again, how incredibly creative and industrious our nineteenth century ancestors were. How they triumphed when all the odds were against them - lack of formal education, absence of adequate health care, career blocking social stratification, religious prejudice, penury, "primit [...]

    9. Very interesting. As a lighthouse lover, having visited over 70, I rated it a 5-if you are not a lighthouse lover, perhaps a 4. Either way, it is a very well told history of the family who was responsible for the construction of most of the lighthouses in Scotland, most of which are still standing. The Stevenson's were also responsible for lights in other parts of the world, and their engineering influenced lighthouse building everywhere. The book tells of the incredible difficulties of creating [...]

    10. This book surprised me. It was fascinating and enthralling. I had zero interest in reading it, but now it's probably one of my top ten all time favorites.

    11. I once lived on an island that carried a lighthouse built by the Lighthouse Stevensons.I lived on the island from about 1970 to about 1974 and all that time I had no idea of its history. Or of the history of any of the lighthouses that circle Britain.I learned about them, their builders and quite a lot about Edinburgh history while reading this book, and the book itself is a late discovery. I first saw the book while staying at Cantick Light, a set of lighthouse keepers' cottages on the island o [...]

    12. Esta es la investigación periodística novelada de Bella Bathurst sobre la familia del escritor J.L. Stevenson como pionera y responsable de la construcción de los faros de Escocia desde 1786 a 1890. Una historia sobre el nacimiento de la ingeniería, la pobreza de muchas breves islas, que se lucraban con los restos de los naufragios y las escalofriantes cifras de estos últimos. También sobre qué esperaban los padres de los hijos, cómo se organizaba una vida familiar, cómo se formaba un j [...]

    13. I read about half of this and then skimmed some before my trip to Scotland. The early parts of the book that covered the history of getting lighthouse construction started despite political and cultural resistance was the most interesting.Overall, I think my interest level would have been better addressed by a thorough magazine or web article. It did inform my trip, however.I saw optics from Stevenson lighthouses in the National Museum of Scotland, and saw the Stevensons' Duncansby Head Lighthou [...]

    14. An interesting book from start to finish Gives a good account of the Stevensons also sir Walter Scott is mentioned in book I really enjoyed this book would recommend

    15. While this book took me a long time to read it was worth every moment. I learned an immense amount about lighthouse building in Scotland during the late 1700’s and perhaps where Robert Louis Stevenson gained inspiration for his adventure-filled novels. Stevenson’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were instrumental in developing many of the lighthouse building standards of their time which have continued throughout history. RLS’s grandfather set the standards for keepers – those [...]

    16. While not a comprehensive history of the construction of Scotland's lighthouses, Bathurst's book does provide insight into the difficulties of building lighthouses in the nineteenth century under extraordinary circumstances. By focusing on some of the more challenging projects, the author provides us with portraits of the Stevenson men, some who had natural talents in engineering and others who only took up the profession grudgingly because of parental pressure. All, though, were able to overcom [...]

    17. Belonging to book groups has coaxed me into reading numerous books I would not have picked up on my own. THE LIGHTHOUSE STEVENSONS is in this category. Bathurst writes in a lively style, telling the story of Robert Lewis Stevensons’ ancestors who are responsible for the system of lighthouses on the Scottish coast. Because I am not well acquainted with engineering, structure and scientific terms, I found much of this book a slog. Any failure to connect with this book was mine alone, and probabl [...]

    18. Fabulous. This is a history of the Stevensons' Lighthouses, mostly in Scotland (or rather, on large-ish rocks on the coasts of Scotland), though you cannot deny they international reach they had; both in building Lights and in helping all mariners (not just Scottish ones) navigate their perilous ways around Scotland. It's a family history, and it's a history of maritime traditions, from a time where there was no sort of prevention or rescue available to sailors, when you expected to lose a certa [...]

    19. Here is a review on the cover, from the San Francisco Chronicle: "It's hard to imagine many writers who could make civil engineering thrilling, but that's what Bathurst does." OK, so I had to read the book. I like lighthouse history, I like the Scots, I like writers whose families think they are wasting their lives. . . all of these elements are here. Did you know that the lighthouse Stevenson dynasty is the family of Robert Louis Stevenson? The descriptions of trying to build something on a roc [...]

    20. Lighthouses have been around for a long time. However, it has been only in the last few centuries they have grown exponentially in number. This book goes into some of the politics involved in getting lighthouses built, and in Great Britain the wrangling between the Scots and the English over who would control the service. The Stevensons who built the preponderance of lighthouses around Scotland are probably better known for one of their number who chose to give up the lighthouse tradition and go [...]

    21. Fascinating look at how lighthouses were built in the wild west of the1700s by the Stevenson family, later to be made more famous by the author in the family. The Stevensons were personally responsible for most of the lighthouses constructed on the Scottish Coastlines that still stand today, although all have been automated in the interim. Press gangs, Wreckers and bad weather make for an interesting read, although the technical egineering parts became a bit repetitive. Sounds like its time to e [...]

    22. This book travelled a long way to reach me, and I'm so glad it did. Lighthouses may not at first seem like a rivetting read, but trust me I was on the end of my seat for some of the construction stories of these 'saviours of the sea'. This book also reached me at a perfect time, it is the perfect complement to my family tree research. We've found that a great-great-great grandfather was a sea captain out of Scotland in the 1850s and would have seen the construction of these lights and probably b [...]

    23. A truly informative book on the lighthouses of Scotland. The reader is taken on a 150 year journey around the perimeter of Scotland watching as the incredibly difficult task of bringing light to men of the sea is undertaken. The family of the author Robert Louis Stevenson, makes their mark in history as they battle, not only the ravages of gale force winds, the destructive forces of the ocean, the natures of workmen but the politics of commerce and government. It's a fascinating tale and well wo [...]

    24. I enjoy reading The Lighthouse Stevensens, it’s one of those books you can open to any random point and read comfortably from there. There are also many reproductions of original cross-section drawings of the historic lighthouses the book covers. A good book whether you’re interested in the sea, maritime history, Scotland, lighthouses, or Robert Louise Stevenson.My blog has a full review.

    25. When you listen to the shipping forecast on BBC Radio 4 and hear the names of all the weather-monitoring stations, you don't give a thought to how those were originally built.This book fills in those gaps and has the added interest of putting writer Robert Louis Stevenson into historical context. A cross between documentary and narrative writing it is definitely worth reading, and if the style is a little dry at first, particularly if you generally read fiction, do persevere.

    26. Very interesting read. I had no idea that Robert Louis Stevenson came from a long line of lighthouse builders. The book is a little dry, and the use of the same names through the generations gets a little confusing, but the subject is fascinating. Building lighthouses in Scotland was truly an epic undertaking, and Robert Stevenson was quite a character. Now I have a great desire to visit the great lighthouses of Scotland just to see the wonders that the Stevensons built.

    27. i've been carrying an advanced readers copy of this book for about 10 years. Now, in my quest to weed the bookshelf, I am reading all such books which I have on the shelf,but haven't read. So far, I am happy that I moved with this book at least 2500 times, since it is engrossing and is teachign me tons about lighthouses and nautical history. But it does NOT make me want to sail around scotland

    28. A decent introduction to the famous engineering family of Robert Louis Stevenson. The way the chapters are organised into lighthouses has its pros and cons. It helps you get your head around the major lighhouses and the members of teh Stevenson family but it also means a lot of juming backwards and forwards in time which can lead to repetition. Family tree useful but could have been more detailed. Overall, a useful primer on the subject.

    29. The subject matter of this book is very interesting and it is a useful reminder of how effective our ancestors were at solving problems and consequently how much our quality of life is improved as a result. That having been said the book was excruciatingly slow to read and I am relieved to have finished it.

    30. Well OK, technically, this was a gift from my daughter because she knew I had become fascinated with Robert Louis Stevenson after a trip to Scotland, but just because the Stevenson family operated lighthouses and just because someone wrote a book about does not make this volume leap off the shelves

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *