Recollections of a Lighthouse Keeper
A letter to the Editor of Flash magazine from Mr. F Squibb on the Isle of Wight offers the following brief recollection of life in the Trinity House service:
“I joined the Lighthouse Service on the 22nd November 1900. At that time we were paid on the 24th of the month, so my first pay day on the 24th November was 3 days. Not a very big sum. I cannot understand about the Classes for Instruction, for at that time we received instruction firstly at the Experimental Room at Trinity House in the management of the Oil Burners which were 8 wick burners and terrors they were. We also received instruction in semaphore and Morse code. If I remember rightly, a Mr. Morrison was our Instructor.
After finishing at Trinity House, we then had to go to Blackwall for further instruction. Captain J.G. Browne was Superintendent at Blackwall then, but before I finished my course there I was sent to duty at the Admiralty Pier, Dover, which they were lengthening at that time. I went back there again in 1913 and stayed there for 11 1/2 years all through the 1914-1918 war, when I went to the South Foreland. I should like to add here that my grandfather, who was a Cornish stone-mason, helped to build the “Scilly Bishop Lighthouse” before he joined as a Lighthouse Keeper.
After that I had three uncles and four cousins in the Service, so we were quite a service family. I served in several more lighthouses including South Foreland, Nab Tower, Lizard, Casquets and the Maplin Sands before finishing up at Pendeen in 1940. So I had a good time and now have been enjoying my retirement for 33 years. So I am what they call one of the “bad bargains”.
But I hope to go on enjoying it as long as the Good Lord gives me the health and strength to do it…”