On This Day in Trinity House History – 30 July


HRH Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh visits two Trinity House lighthouses

His Royal Highness Prince Philip in his capacity as Master of the Corporation of Trinity House visited Beachy Head and Royal Sovereign Lighthouses.

The following brief account appeared in Flash magazine:

“Prince Philip flew and landed a Wessex Helicopter from the Queens Flight onto the Royal Sovereign platform, and was subsequently heard to remark that the landing strip colour should be changed to make it stand out more.

He spent an hour aboard the Sovereign, and not only inspected the lighthouse in great detail but was obviously very interested and impressed by all he saw aboard the ‘lighthouse of the seventies’.

After the inspection of the Royal Sovereign, Prince Philip flew into Eastbourne by helicopter and transferred to T.H.V. PATRICIA which took him out to Beachy Head Lighthouse where he carried out a similar inspection.”

HRH Duke of Edinburgh on Royal Sovereign Lighthouse

HRH Duke of Edinburgh on Royal Sovereign Lighthouse



Trinity House Hands Helgoland Lighthouse to German Authorities

St. Catherine’s Lighthouse is converted to automatic operation and the keepers depart. A lighthouse had been first lit in March 1840.

St Catherine’s Lighthouse is situated at Niton Undercliffe, 5 miles from Ventnor on the Isle of Wight and comprises a white octagonal tower with 94 steps up to the lantern. The light is a guide to shipping in the Channel as well as vessels approaching the Solent.

There is a fixed red subsidiary light displayed from a window 7 metres below the main light and shown westward over the Atherfield Ledge. It is visible for 17 miles in clear weather, and was first exhibited in 1904. Both lights are electric, and standby battery lights are provided in case of a power failure.

A small light was first set up at St. Catherine’s in about 1323 by Walter de Godyton. He erected a chapel and added an endowment for a priest to say Masses for his family and to exhibit lights at night to warn ships from approaching too near this dangerous coast, both purposes being fulfilled until about 1530 when the Reformation swept away the endowment. Neither the present lighthouse tower lighted in March 1840, nor the chapel of which the ruins remain, held these ancient lights.

The present tower was constructed in 1838 following the loss of the sailing ship Clarendon on rocks near the site of the present lighthouse.

The lighthouse itself is now monitored and controlled from the Trinity House Planning Centre at Harwich in Essex.

St Catherines Lighthouse by Neil Thomas

St Catherines Lighthouse © Neil Thomas

On This Day in Trinity House History – 24 April


Trinity House deal with a fouled buoy

Trinity House Board Minute:

“Letter from the Buoy Keeper at Yarmouth that the Master of a vessel of that town had lately dragged one of our buoys at the Cockle out of its place by fastening his ship thereto, in order to sheer her off from the land. Ordered that he be directed to send up the master’s name in order to his being prosecuted for the same (which Mr. Mowbray is to be consulted about in the meantime) and that notice be given in the public prints that all such Master of ships as shall drag any of our buoys in like manner will be prosecuted, and all such persons as shall give information thereof to this House will be rewarded.”



HRH The Duke of Edinburgh is elected Master

Trinity Monday: HRH The Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh KG KT OM GBE is elected Master of Trinity House, on the death of the Duke of Gloucester.

He was elected as Master for every following consecutive year until 2011, when he retired, making him the longest-sitting Master in the Corporation’s history. He remains today an Elder Brother of the Court, having been sworn-in in 1952.

Prince Philip was born 10 June 1921. As the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, he is the longest-serving and oldest-ever spouse of a reigning British monarch, and the oldest-ever male member of the British royal family.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and portraitist Chen Yan Ning at Trinity House

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and portraitist Chen Yan Ning at Trinity House