Neist Point

Famous Engineers of the Scottish Lighthouses

In Salutem Omnium
For the Safety of All
Niest Point - Skye
Flag of Scotland
© Compiled by:
Bob Schrage
Update: 02-01-2023

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The Sensational Stevensons - (Stevensons lighthouse Engineers)

For over one hundred and fifty years Robert Stevenson and his descendants designed most of Scotland's Lighthouses. Battling against the odds and the elements - the Stevensons constructed wonders of engineering that have withstood the test of time, an amazing historical achievement.

"Coelum Non Solum"
Family Crest
Family Crest

Robert Stevenson's talented family also included the famous writer Robert Louis Stevenson (his grandson). Visits with his family to remote lighthouses are thought to have inspired his books Kidnapped and Treasure Island.

"There is scarce a deep sea light from the Isle of Man to North Berwick,
but one of my blood designed it.
The Bell Rock stands monument for my grandfather;
the Skerry Vhor for my uncle Alan;
and when the lights come out along the shores of Scotland,
I am proud to think that they burn more brightly for the genius of my father."

Robert Louis Stevenson

Genealogie of the Stevensons Family

Other Lighthouse Engineers of the NLB

With the death of David Alan Stevenson in 1971 the period of a family devoted to building lighthouses came to an end.

Between 1799 and 1938 the Stevenson family has built 97 Lighthouses in Scotland and on the Isle of Man. As a resume, and a reminder that the Northern Lighthouse Board continued to build lighthouses, here the list of their 'Senior Engineers' who built the lighthouses of Scotland.

The title Senior Engineer was changed to Engineer-in-Chief after 1972 and then changed to Director of Engineering in 1995.

List of Engineers of the Northern Lighthouse Board (1787 - 2022)

Thomas Smith 22 January1787- 11 July1808
(salaried from 26 December 1793)

Robert Stevenson 12 July1808- 14 December1842
In July 1797, at Smith's request,
The Board agreed to Stevenson acting in his place for the annual visit to the lighthouses

Alan Stevenson 14 January1843- ?? February1853

David Lillie Stevenson 16 March1853- ?? March1855

David Lillie Stevenson /
Thomas Stevenson
01 January1855- 25 June1884

Thomas Stevenson25 June 1884- 07 March1885

Thomas Stevenson /
David Alan Stevenson
07 March1885- 08 May1887

David Alan Stevenson 02 November1887- 31 March1938

John Oswald 11 May1938- 01 July1946

John D. Gardner 31 July1946- 02 July1955

Peter H. Hyslop 01 Augustus1955- 30 June1978

John J.K. Williamson 01 July1978- 30 March1987

William Paterson 01 April1987- 20 July2000

Moray Waddell 03 July2000- 31 Augustus2016

Captain Phillip Day 01 September2016- Still in postxxxx

The genealogy of the Stevensons- Wikitree