Shining Light That Saved Lives; Spotlight Is on the Famous Scottish Family Who Helped Guide Sailors to Safety

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), January 29, 2011 | Go to article overview

Shining Light That Saved Lives; Spotlight Is on the Famous Scottish Family Who Helped Guide Sailors to Safety


Byline: PAUL ENGLISH

THE LIGHTHOUSE STEVENSONS TUESDAY, BBC2, 9pm

Here's a pub quiz question - which giant of Scottish literature came from a family who pioneered the building of lighthouses across Scotland?

Was it, a) Irvine Welsh b) Andrew O'Hagan c) Ian Rankin. No, dafty. It was Robert Louis Stevenson, writer of such literary classics as Kidnapped and Jekyll and Hyde.

This week, the achievements of his clan are being celebrated in a BBC Scotland documentary which charts the work of this lighthouse family over the course of five generations.

From the late 1700s to the early 1900s, they created lighthouses on some of the most storm-lashed and inaccessible outcrops of Scotland. If you love history, don't miss this.

But more than that - if you like series like Coast and Scotland Revealed, the photography in this documentary shows the country in all its beauty.

The family tradition was started with Edinburgh man Thomas Smith, who installed his first light on Kinnaird Castle, near Fraserburgh, in 1787.

He passed the baton to his son-in-law (and stepson) Robert Stevenson, who founded a dynasty of lighthouse engineers including sons Allan, David and Thomas (father of RLS), and in turn David's sons David Alan and Charles and nally Charles's son, David Alan. …

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