Alan Stevenson


Alan Stevenson
FRSE Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's national academy of science and Literature, letters, judged to be "eminently distinguished in their subject". ...
MInstCE The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is an independent professional association for civil engineers and a Charitable organization, charitable body in the United Kingdom. Based in London, ICE has over 95,000 members, of whom three-quarters are ...
(28 April 1807 – 23 December 1865) was a Scottish civil engineer, known for designing and building
lighthouse A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses A lens is a transmissive optics, optical device that focuses or disperses a light beam by means of refraction. A simple ...

s in and around Scotland.


Alan Stevenson was born in
Edinburgh Edinburgh (; sco, Edinburgh; gd, Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 Council areas of Scotland, council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian (interchangeably Edinburghshire before 1921), it is ...

on 28 April 1807, the eldest son of Jean Smith and her husband (and step-brother) Robert Stevenson. With his father, and brothers
David David (; ) (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". is described in th ...
Thomas Thomas may refer to: People * List of people with given name Thomas * Thomas (name) * Thomas (surname) * Saint Thomas (disambiguation) * Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, and Doctor of the Church * Thomas the Apo ...
, he was part of the notable family of Engineers and lighthouse builders. The writer
Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Louis Stevenson (born Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson; 13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, essayist, poet and travel writer. He is best known for works such as ''Treasure Island'', ''Strange Case of Dr Jekyll an ...

Robert Louis Stevenson
was his nephew. He was educated at the
High School A secondary school describes an institution that provides and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both lower secondary education (ages 11 to 14) and upper secondary education (ages 14 to 18) ...
in Edinburgh. In 1821, he attended the
University of Edinburgh The University of Edinburgh ( sco, University o Edinburgh, gd, Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann; abbreviated as ''Edin.'' in ) is a in , . Granted a by King in 1582 and officially opened in 1583, it is one of Scotland's and the in continuous op ...
to study Latin, Greek and mathematics with a view to becoming a member of the clergy. However, 2 years later in 1823, he decided to pursue a career in engineering and began a four-year apprenticeship at his father's business. He continued to study part-time at the University and graduated with an MA in 1926. Between 1843 and 1853 he built 13 lighthouses in and around
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Tele ...

. Among his notable works is the Skerryvore Lighthouse. He was Engineer in Chief to the Northern Lighthouse Board from 1843 to 1853. In 1838 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh his proposer being James David Forbes. In 1840 the University of Glasgow conferred on him an honorary LLB degree. He died at 13 Pitt Street (later renamed Pittville St) in Portobello, Edinburgh, Portobello on 23 December 1865. He is buried in the Stevenson family vault in New Calton Cemetery with his wife, Margaret Scott Jones. The vault lies midway along the eastern wall.


*''Biographical Sketches of the Late Robert Stevenson'' (1861)


On 11 September 1844, he married Margaret Scott Jones (1813–1895), daughter of Jean (''née'' Scott) and Humphrey Herbert Jones of Anglesey. They had three daughters, Jean, Dorothea and the author and journalist Katharine de Mattos, Katherine Elizabeth de Mattos Stevenson (1851–1939), and one son, art critic Robert Alan Mowbray Stevenson (1827–1880).Inscription on grave of Alan Stevenson, New Calton Cemetery He was uncle to
Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Louis Stevenson (born Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson; 13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, essayist, poet and travel writer. He is best known for works such as ''Treasure Island'', ''Strange Case of Dr Jekyll an ...

Robert Louis Stevenson
, Charles Alexander Stevenson and David Alan Stevenson.

Lighthouses by Alan Stevenson

* Little Ross (1843) * Isle of May Low Light (1843) * Skerryvore (1844) * Covesea Skerries Lighthouse, Covesea Skerries (1846) * Chanonry Point (1846) * Cromarty (1846) * Cairn Point, Loch Ryan (1847) * Noss Head Lighthouse, Noss Head (1849) * Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, Ardnamurchan (1849) * Sanda Island, Sanda (1850) * Hestan Island (1850) * Hoy High and Hoy Low, Graemsay (1851) * Arnish Point (1853) * Eilean Musdile (Lismore, Scotland, Lismore)


Biographical Sketch of the Late Robert Stevenson: Civil Engineer
', read at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, at the meeting of 17 February 1851. From Google Book Search *
A Rudimentary Treatise on the History, Construction and Illumination of Lighthouses
', 1850, from Google Book Search

Family Tree

Alan's position in the Stevenson family tree.


{{DEFAULTSORT:Stevenson, Alan Lighthouse builders Scottish civil engineers 1807 births 1865 deaths Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 19th-century Scottish people People from Edinburgh Burials at the New Calton Burial Ground People educated at the Royal High School, Edinburgh Alumni of the University of Edinburgh