Trinity House

23rd July 2005, 12:13
Thunderd was asking about Trinity House the other day.

Corporation of Trinity House, older than the Royal Navy, is steeped in tradition. The organisation is run by Elder Brethren and Younger Brethren, who are ex Admirals, Commodores of Merchant fleets, etc (although I'm not sure where they'd get them from these days). I've got it in my head the HRH Prince Philip was Master of Trinity House in the '60s - could be wrong on that. Rumour had it that the Brethren were paid by a substantial cheque under a gold plate at dinner on Trinity Sunday. The organisation's headquarters is at Trinity House on Tower Hill, next door to the PLA building.

THV Patricia (see photo in gallery) was the flagship of the Trinity House fleet. She was based in Harwich, the main Trinity House Depot, and every year the Elder Brethren would board her for a tour of inspection of every buoy, lightship and lighthouse in England and the Channel Islands. This would take about 6 months, presumeably the Brethren came and went.

I experienced one of these nerve wracking inspections at Anvil Point Lighthouse, near Swanage...I still tremble at the thought and am unable to touch brass without a rag in my hand!

After the tour she would have a re-fit and commence work on buoys, relieving lightship and lighthouse crews, etc, for a while, then another re-fit to get ready for the tour again.

I read somewhere recently that the new "Patricia", while on her normal duties, takes passengers for short trips.

On the photo in the gallery, the flag on the after mast is the Trinity House Ensign.

John T.

23rd July 2005, 20:58
I dont think there will be many people holding brasso cloths these days John, everythings automated now. Gone are the lightships welcoming you home, just large automatic navigation lights now.

Unmanned lighthouses with ugly helecopter landing platforms on top, nobody to spot anyone in trouble and get help.

I know that technology has taken a lot of dangerous jobs away, but it was part of maritime history no longer with us.


23rd July 2005, 23:50
A great piece of history and tradition there, thank you for the explanation.Still not sure whether to call you John or Jim LOL

Doug Rogers
24th July 2005, 07:40
The history of lighthouses stretches back in time at least to the Classical period of history. British lighthouses go back to Roman times, one example of which may be found within the walls of Dover castle itself.
In the 17th Century the construction of lighthouses was formalised under Trinity House, an organisation which was originally chartered by Henry VIII to protect shipping in the Thames Estuary area. At that time there were many private lighthouses built by rich landowners who were more interested in profit that in sea safety. The growth and expansion of international trade and the growth of the Royal Navy itself forced change. In 1836 an Act of Parliament was passed which forced the compulsory purchase of all private lighthouses in the UK, Wales and the Channel Islands and centralising their control under Trinity House. Many remarkable lighthouses were built, Bell Rock, The Lizard, Wolf Rock to name but a few. Incredible constructions to say the least.
I used to live 3 miles from the Needles lighthouse and used to know some of the keepers before they were finally overcome by progress and automation. When I was back on the IOW in April this year I had the pleasure of hearing the Needles in action again...the tone is much more mellow and less powerful these days but I couldnt help think of earlier times when I lived there and it was part of our lives..that coupled with the crack of the maroons going off calling out the lifeboat crew. Happy days..and Trinity House, I reckon they have done all seafarers a pretty good turn by making the seas around UK safer.

Doug H
24th July 2005, 08:46
Why can't I op-en you attached pic Doug? OtherDoug

24th July 2005, 08:51
Doug H. I think its because the actual picture DouG R posted is only 56x80 pixels, to see a larger version you would have to download it copy it into another bit of software

Doug Rogers
24th July 2005, 10:44
It is indeed a thumbnail..but I will post a larger to the Gallery if you would like me to.

michael james
24th July 2005, 10:49
It is indeed a thumbnail..but I will post a larger to the Gallery if you would like me to.
Yes please Doug if you would, and what building is your new avatar?

Doug Rogers
24th July 2005, 11:01
Its done, now in the Gallery....and I thought the ball would have given it away. Its the Greenwich Observatory.

michael james
24th July 2005, 12:40
Its done, now in the Gallery....and I thought the ball would have given it away. Its the Greenwich Observatory.
Now I recognise it , thanks Doug - very apt.
Personally I am much more familiar with the time ball in Maidan Park Calcutta, whilst at buoys in the Hooghly,waiting for it to fall checking the R/O`s time signal and chronometers - only when I had nothing better to do -of course !

Wonder if it is still working ?

Doug Rogers
24th July 2005, 23:24
Ah well thats a good question isnt it, and it makes me wonder with the changes in systems what ships do to get a time signal now??......ah dear another blast from the past!!.