Neist Point

Famous Engineers of the Scottish Lighthouses

In Salutem Omnium
For the Safety of All
Niest Point - Skye
Flag of Scotland
© Composted by:
Bob Schrage
updated: 13-12-2018

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 - 2018)

Thomas Smith 22 January 1787 - 11 July 1808
(salaried from 26 December 1793)
Robert Stevenson* 12 July 1808 - 14 December 1842
*) 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 January 1843 - ?? February 1853
David Lillie Stevenson 16 March 1853 - ?? March 1855?
David Lillie Stevenson/
Thomas Stevenson
01 January 1855 - 25 June 1884
Thomas Stevenson 25 June 1884 - 07 March 1885
Thomas Stevenson/
David Alan Stevenson
07 March 1885 - 08 May 1887
David Alan Stevenson 02 November 1887 - 31 March 1938
John Oswald 11 May 1938 - 01 July 1946
John D. Gardner 31 July 1946 - 02 July 1955
Peter H. Hyslop 01 Augustus 1955 - 30 June 1978
John J.K. Williamson 01 July 1978 - 30 March 1987
William Paterson 01 April 1987 - 20 July 2000
Moray Waddell 03 July 2000 - 31 Augustus 2016
Captain Phillip Day 01 Septmber 2016 - xx still in post xxxx

The genealogy of the Stevensons- Wikitree
The Lighthouse Stevenson- BBC Video
Dynasty of Engineers- Roland Paxton - Book 2011