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Little Cumbrae Lighthouse (New Tower)
west side of Little Cumbrae, Firth of Clyde
associated engineer
Thomas Smith
date  1st October 1793
era  Georgian  |  category  Lighthouse  |  reference  NS136514
Thomas Smith was asked by the Trustees of Little Cumbrae Lighthouse (1757) to examine ways of improving the light in 1790 and 1792. On both occasions the plans he offered were rejected. However, when the Trust eventually decided to erect a new light in 1793, Smith was given the job.
The construction of the new lighthouse was supervised by his future son-in-law, Robert Stevenson, during a summer break from studies at Glasgow University.
The tower was built by a local contractor named Anderson, while the reflecting light was manufactured at Smith's workshops in Glasgow. The building of the lighthouse went according to schedule and it was lit on the 1st October 1793.
The Stevenson family were to have a long association with the Little Cumbrae Lighthouse. In 1898 Charles Stevenson (1855-1950) was commissioned to fit a new light onto the tower and installed a wet-celled battery-powered electric light in 1900.
However, this light only lasted until 1906 and Charles replaced it with an acetylene gas light in 1908.
The Stevenson family firm were again at work on Little Cumbrae in 1922 when they installed a diaphone foghorn. This signal was replaced in 1929 by Alan Stevenson's (1891-1971) radio fog signalling system.
Research: PS
"The World's Lighthouses Before 1820" by D. Alan Stevenson
Oxford University Press, London, 1959
"Lighthouses: Their Architecture, History and Archaeology"
by Douglas B. Hague + Rosemary Christie, Llandysul: Gomer Press, 1975
"A Star for Seamen: The Stevenson Family of Engineers"
by Craig Mair, John Murray, London, 1978

Little Cumbrae Lighthouse (New Tower)