Thomas Smith (1752–1814) was a Scottish businessman and early lighthouse engineer.
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.
He was born in Broughty Ferry near Dundee on 6 December 1752. His father drowned in Dundee harbour when he was young. His mother encouraged him into a career away from the sea, leading him into working in ironmongery. In 1790 he was working at 1 Blair Street off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh's Old Town.
Broughty Ferry is a suburb in Dundee, Scotland. It is situated four miles east of the city centre on the north bank of the Firth of Tay. The area was a separate burgh from 1864 until 1913, when it was incorporated into Dundee.
Dundee is Scotland's fourth-largest city and the 51st-most-populous built-up area in the United Kingdom. The mid-year population estimate for 2016 was 148,270, giving Dundee a population density of 2,478/km2 or 6,420/sq mi, the second-highest in Scotland. It lies within the eastern central Lowlands on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, which feeds into the North Sea. Under the name of Dundee City, it forms one of the 32 council areas used for local government in Scotland.
The Royal Mile is a succession of streets forming the main thoroughfare of the Old Town of the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. The term was first used descriptively in W M Gilbert's Edinburgh in the Nineteenth Century (1901), "...with its Castle and Palace and the royal mile between", and was further popularised as the title of a guidebook, published in 1920.
By his late 30s, he was running his own business making lamps and designing street lighting for the burgeoning New Town, Edinburgh. His success with innovative reflectors on lights led him to search for new business by contacting the newly formed Northern Lighthouse Trust (now Northern Lighthouse Board). He was appointed the first engineer to the Trust contracted to build the first four lighthouses (Kinnaird Head, Mull of Kintyre, Eilean Glas, and North Ronaldsay).
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian, it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore.
The Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) is the General Lighthouse Authority for Scotland and the Isle of Man. It is a non-departmental public body responsible for marine navigation aids around coastal areas.
Kinnaird Head is a headland projecting into the North Sea, within the town of Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire on the east coast of Scotland. The 16th-century Kinnaird Castle was converted in 1787 for use as the Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, the first lighthouse in Scotland to be lit by the Commissioners of Northern Lights. Kinnaird Castle and the nearby Winetower were described by W. Douglas Simpson as two of the nine castles of the Knuckle, referring to the rocky headland of north-east Aberdeenshire. The lighthouse is a category A listed building. and the Winetower is a scheduled monument.
He used the newly invented Argand lamp with its circular wick and glass chimney which gave a much brighter light than traditional wick lamps. But behind this he fixed parabolic reflectors which concentrated the light. He experimented with several designs to make the lights unique and it was one of the last he designed on Start Point, Sanday that used a revolving light that was to become universal.
The Argand lamp, a kind of oil lamp, was invented and patented in 1780 by Aimé Argand. Its output is 6 to 10 candelas, brighter than that of earlier lamps. Its more complete combustion of the candle wick and oil than in other lamps required much less frequent trimming of the wick.
He died at 2 Baxters Placeat the top of Leith Walk in Edinburgh on 21 June 1815.
Leith Walk is one of the longest streets in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is the main road connecting the port area of Leith to the centre of the city. Forming the majority of the A900 road, it slopes upward from 'the Foot of the Walk' at the north-eastern end of the street, where Great Junction, Duke and Constitution streets meet, to the Picardy Place roundabout at the south-western end.
He is buried in the north-east section of Old Calton Burial Ground in Edinburgh.
The Old Calton Burial Ground is a graveyard at Calton Hill, in Edinburgh, Scotland, to the north-east of the city centre. The burial ground was opened in 1718, and is the resting place of several notable Scots, including philosopher David Hume, scientist John Playfair, rival publishers William Blackwood and Archibald Constable, and clergyman Dr Robert Candlish. It is also the site of the Political Martyrs' Monument, an obelisk erected to the memory of a number of political reformers, and Scotland's American Civil War Memorial.
In 1787, he had been twice widowed and had three young children when he met and married Jean Lillie Stevenson, a widow whose young son was Robert Stevenson. Robert became Smith's apprentice, business partner, son-in-law and eventual inheritor of the lighthouse building business. Stevenson married Smith's daughter, Jane, his step-sister.
His daughter Janet was mother to William Swan.
The Islands of the Firth of Clyde are the fifth largest of the major Scottish island groups after the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland. They are situated in the Firth of Clyde between Ayrshire and Argyll and Bute. There are about forty islands and skerries, of which only four are inhabited and only nine larger than 40 hectares. The largest and most populous are Arran and Bute, and Great Cumbrae and Holy Isle are also served by dedicated ferry routes. Unlike the four larger Scottish archipelagos, none of the isles in this group are connected to one another or to the mainland by bridges.
Firth is a word in the Scots and English languages used to denote various coastal waters in Scotland and even a strait. In the Northern Isles, it more usually refers to a smaller inlet. It is linguistically cognate to fjord which has a more constrained sense in English. Bodies of water named "firths" tend to be more common on the east coast, or in the southwest of the country, although the Firth of Lorn is an exception to this. The Highland coast contains numerous estuaries, straits, and inlets of a similar kind, but not called "firth" ; instead, these are often called sea lochs. Before about 1850, the spelling "Frith" was more common.
The Firth of Clyde is an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean off the southwest coast of Scotland, named for the River Clyde which empties into it. It encloses the largest and deepest coastal waters in the British Isles, sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean by the Kintyre peninsula which encloses the outer firth in Argyll and Ayrshire. The Kilbrannan Sound is a large arm of the Firth of Clyde, separating the Kintyre Peninsula from the Isle of Arran. Within the Firth of Clyde is another major island – the Isle of Bute. Given its strategic location, at the entrance to the middle/upper Clyde, Bute played a vitally important military (naval) role during World War II.
David Stevenson MICE FRSE FRSSA was a Scottish lighthouse designer, who designed over 30 lighthouses in and around Scotland, and helped continue the dynasty of lighthouse engineering founded by his father.
Robert Stevenson, FRSE, FGS, FRAS, FSA Scot, MWS was a Scottish civil engineer and famed designer and builder of lighthouses.
The Mull of Kintyre is the southwesternmost tip of the Kintyre Peninsula in southwest Scotland. From here, the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland is visible on a calm and clear day, and a historic lighthouse, the second commissioned in Scotland, guides shipping in the intervening North Channel. The area has been immortalised in popular culture by the 1977 hit song "Mull of Kintyre" by Kintyre resident Paul McCartney's band of the time, Wings.
North Ronaldsay is the northernmost island in the Orkney archipelago of Scotland. With an area of 690 hectares (2.7 sq mi), it is the fourteenth-largest. It is mentioned in the Orkneyinga saga; in modern times it is known for its historic lighthouse, migratory bird life and unusual breed of sheep.
The Knott family of lighthouse keepers is credited with the longest period of continuous service in the history of manned lighthouses, commencing in 1730 at South Foreland, Kent, with William Knott and ending in 1906 at Skerries with Henry Thomas Knott who died in 1910 having retired to Crewe. There are three famous lighthouse-keeping families in England, the other two being the Darling and the Hall families. The three families are inter-related.
Thomas StevensonPRSE MInstCE FRSSA FSAScot was a pioneering Scottish lighthouse designer and meteorologist, who designed over thirty lighthouses in and around Scotland, as well as the Stevenson screen used in meteorology. His designs, celebrated as ground breaking, ushered in a new era of lighthouse creation.
Alan StevensonFRSE LLD MInstCE was a Scottish lighthouse engineer who was Engineer to the Board of Northern Lighthouses. Among his notable works is the Skerryvore Lighthouse.
Erraid is a tidal island approximately one mile square located in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. It lies west of Mull and southeast of Iona. The island receives about 100 centimetres (39.4 in) of rain and 1,350 hours of sunshine annually, making it one of the driest and sunniest places on the western seaboard of Scotland. It is attended by numerous uninhabited small islets, the largest being Eilean Dubh, Eilean nam Muc, Eilean Chalmain, Eilean Ghomain and Eilean na Seamair.
Cloch or Cloch Point is a point on the coast of the Firth of Clyde, Scotland. There has been a lighthouse since 1797 to warn ships off The Gantocks.
Dennis Head Old Beacon is a ruined lighthouse on the island of North Ronaldsay, Orkney, Scotland. It featured on the 2006 BBC television series Restoration Village finishing in third place. The beacon and keepers' houses are protected as a scheduled monument.
Eilean Glas Lighthouse is situated on the east coast of the island of Scalpay in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. It was one of the original four lights commissioned by the Commissioners of the Northern Lights, and the first in the Hebrides. These lighthouses were built by Thomas Smith.
Events from the year 1786 in Scotland.
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