Museum shines light on Bell Rock anniversary

Anniversaries appear to be a theme for June, and Arbroath’s Signal Tower Museum has a programme of events lined up to celebrate some special commemorations.

Mark Dowie
Monday, 30th May 2022, 12:28pm
Museum shines light on Bell Rock anniversary

Running between June 4 and June 11, the events will begin by marking the occasion of the first course of intricately cut stone blocks to build the Bell Rock Lighthouse being completed at Ladyloan work yard.

Weather permitting, the museum’s full sized Bassey horse and cart model will be in the courtyard on Saturday and at times during the special event week.

Joining Bassey on Saturday will be members of the Arbroath Men’s Shed who will be showcasing their wooden lighthouse designs.

On Tuesday, June 7, the birth in 1761 of engineer John Rennie will be marked and the following day that of Robert Stevenson in 1772 – two very important people in the history of the Bell Rock Lighthouse.

Rennie, as the chief engineer, was responsible for overall supervision, while Stevenson was resident engineer with responsibility for day-to-day management of the work and the workers .

The lighthouse needed to survive storm-force winds and mountainous waves, and was constructed from blocks of sandstone and granite, with each course laid by dovetailing these cut stones together.

The stones, each of which weighed up to a ton, were cut to shape at the Ladyloan yard close to the harbour and it was the job of Bassey the horse to transport them using a Woolwich Sling Cart .

During the week visitors can try out VR headsets to experience a bird’s eye view of the museum which played such as important role as the shore station supporting the Bell Rock Lighthouse. It will finish with an event to mark World Oceans Day, supported by Arbroath Litter Pickers.

Rachel Jackson, from ANGUSalive, said: “Bassey and cart were built for the BBC docu-drama ‘The Seven Wonders of the Industrial World’ nearly twenty years ago by Lyall Norrie, who very kindly donated the model to the museum. We hope Bassey will be displayed permanently once funding is secured to allow a special case to be purchased, but weather permitting she will make an appearance throughout the week.”

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