New research findings help raise awareness of Scotland's civil engineering heritage

Prof Roland Paxton with David Taylor, great-great-great-grandson of Captain David Taylor, Master of the Smeaton Tender, viewing the plaque

Research undertaken by Professor Roland Paxton from the School of the Built Environment informed the commemorative plaque that designates the Bell Rock Lighthouse as an Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the world's senior engineering body, The Institution of Civil Engineers.

The offshore Bell Rock Lighthouse and its former Signal Tower Shore Station have officially been declared as an Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by ICE Scotland.

The 202-year old lighthouse, still standing some 11 miles out to sea, is regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Industrial World because of the extraordinary feat of its construction, on a submerged rock, and use of the limited technology of the time.

The commemorative plaque on the Signal Tower Station, now a museum to the Lighthouse, promotes knowledge of the building of this engineering masterpiece, beneficial not only to maritime safety but also as a model for rock lighthouse construction.

The plaque wording is based on original research by Professor Roland Paxton FRSE of the Institution's Panel for Historical Engineering Works, set out in his recent book Dynasty of Engineers: The Stevensons and the Bell Rock (published by the Northern Lighthouse Heritage Trust). Whilst the plaque acknowledges Robert Stevenson's key role in the lighthouse's creation, it also recognises for the first time in this way the roles of others including John Rennie, David Logan, James Watt and Captain David Taylor and indicates the innovative expedients employed and other detail.