Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
In this book chapters concern the design, build, operation and trials encountered at: Eddystone, The Skerries, The Smalls, Longships, Longstone, Bell Rock, Tuskar Rock, The Skelligs, Skerryvore, Bishop Rock, Fastnet, Muckle Flugga, The Bull and Calf, Wolf Rock, Dubh Artach, Chicken Rock, Flannan Isles, Rockall and, South Rock.
Each chapter takes a brief look at subsequent modernisation and automation for there are now no lighthouses keepers. Chapters are supported by a reading list for further information on lighthouses and their history, To close there is a brief glossary of terms and six pages of further listings of the rock towers of Trinity House, the Irish Lights and the Northern Lighthouse Board with light character, range and so forth.
This is a much expanded new edition of Nicholson’s classic bestselling lighthouse book and features in the region of 350 illustrations and many dramatic photographs, in full colour. The foreword is by HRH The Princess Royal, Patron of the Northern Lighthouse Board and Master of Trinity House and an experienced pharologists. The wealth of graphics includes 28 plans and 58 drawings.
To close it has to be said that the coastline of Britain and Ireland is lit by many more rock lights than those that feature in the individual chapters (although they are all listed in the detailed appendixes) so the author has chosen only those with the most dramatic and fascinating histories with unbelievable stories of the battles between Man and Nature during and after their construction.
It is fair to comment that manufacturers of aids to navigation equipment for the lighthouse services of France (BBT), Britain (Chance Brothers), Germany (Juliu Pintsch), Spain (La Maquinista) and Sweden (AGA) sent their products throughout the world with much of it tried and tested in the waters of Europe. What worked at home was then exported for the greater gain of the world’s seafarers.
As a footnote may I be permitted to add that I have been involved in the research, writing, editing, reading and reviewing books on GB lighthouses for half a century and it is fair to explain that that the lighthouse book to end all lighthouse books has yet to be published? The ultimate book would be an expanded Admiralty List of Lights (that would be 15 regional volumes) with every engineers’ drawings produced of the fixed aids to navigation and accompanied by a selection of photographs taken down the years, a veritable pharological encyclopaedia and probably impossible to create and that is before you assemble the text. Remember, the full series of British Admiralty Lists of Lights carries information on some 85,000 structures around the world..
With regard to these islands, that said, this volume is going in the right direction with its depth of research and broad gallery of illustrations, a sheer labour of love by a dedicated writer who has been with his chosen subjects for more than four decades.
Orders may be placed at www.whittlespublishing.com Delivery rates to addresses outside the UK can be provided on application on that website.
Rock Lighthouses of Britain and Ireland
By Christopher Nicholson
Published by Whittles Publishing
Dunbeath, Caithness, Scotland KW6 6EG
ISBN 978 184995 544 7
Pages 320. Softback, A4 dimensions. Price £24.95
Reviewed by Paul Ridgway FRGS FRIN