On This Day in Trinity House History – 16 June


Trinity House contributes to the fund against piracy

Privy Council letter to Trinity House:

“Within these few years the Turks have captured above 300 ships of England and Scotland. The merchants of London have offered £40,000 from the merchants. and owners of ships in the port of London as a fund against the Turks. They ask the Trinity House to assemble and decide what they will contribute.”

Trinity House’s answer to the above was to offer discounted rates on ships, amounting in all to £1,068. According to the National Archive’s historical currency converter, in 1620, £1,068 0s 0d would have the same spending worth in 2005 as £102,528.



The first Trinity House buoy tender is sent out

Trinity House Board Minute:

“Our Buoy boat called the Trinity Sloop, being now ready, Mr. William Soanes, a Younger Brother and Pilot of this Corporation was appointed to take charge of her as Master, and Mr. William Parsley to be Mate, William Martin and Thomas Knife to be foremostmen, and she to be sent out immediately on an inspection of the Buoys and Beacons in the North and South Channels, and to receive from our Buoykeepers there all the Buoys Chains and Stones which they have in store, and to report those they had in store.

The Clerk to write to the Buoykeepers and acquaint them that their respective salaries will cease from midsummer next, and to direct them to send up an account of those in store last July, and of those they have received and placed since, and of those they deliver up to Mr. Soane.”

The sending out of the first Trinity House buoy tender effectively marks the birth of the modern Support Vessel Service (SVS).

Thomas Whitcombe's Seascape with a Trinity House Yacht and a man-o-war of the Blue Squadron off the Casquets, 1795, Copyright Trinity House

Thomas Whitcombe’s Seascape with a Trinity House Yacht and a man-o-war of the Blue Squadron off the Casquets, 1795, Copyright Trinity House


Trinity House Vessel Alert hits a mine on return from D-Day

During D-Day operations off the coast of Normandy THV Alert was sunk when she hit a mine while returning home; fortunately there was no loss of life.

THV Alert (3) 1920-44 copyright Trinity House

THV Alert (3) 1920-44 copyright Trinity House

On This Day in Trinity House History – 20 April


East coast lighthouses prepared for King George II’s passing-by

Trinity House Board Minute:

“His Majesty about to go to Holland, the Keepers at Harwich, Orford, Lowestoft, and the Foreland [lighthouses] ordered to take special care of their respective lights as soon as the time of his Majesty’s time of departure shall be fixed. A like notice to the Trinity Sloop concerning the buoys in the Nth. & Sth. Channels.”



THV Alert enters service

THV Alert was commissioned into service, having been converted from an Admiralty cable ship (HMS Bullseye).

This Alert, the fourth Trinity House Vessel to bear the name, was built to replace the Alert sunk by a mine during the Second World War. She served well as was sold out of service in 1970.

THV Alert 1946 - 1970

THV Alert 1946 – 1970

On This Day in Trinity House History – 15 April


THV Alert is Lost During the First World War

The Corporation’s steam vessel THV Alert was sunk near Dover, with the loss of eleven lives, after contact with a mine when on special service.

THV Alert was the second of her name to serve Trinity House as a tender, built in 1911.

She was replaced by the Argus from Yarmouth; in order to carry on the work in that district a new trawler, on the stocks at Selby, was requisitioned and fitted for handling buoys. Her original name Jeria was retained.

She carried out her work satisfactorily until the end of the war; the crew spoke highly of her seagoing qualities. The Admiralty replaced Alert with a duplicate vessel in 1920 from the same builders, Messrs Ramage and Ferguson of Leith; she would also be sunk by a mine in the Second World War.



Trinity House Lays the First of the Modern IALA Buoys

THV Ready had the honour of laying the first IALA buoy in a ceremony off Dover, watched over by representatives of 16 nations.

The IALA (International Association of Lighthouse Authorities) Maritime Buoyage System was implemented in 1977 to address the unsatisfactory and sometimes disastrous mix of over 30 buoyage systems being used worldwide. IALA first set up an international technical committee in 1965 to examine the problem and design a system that would be globally recognised. Trinity House played a leading part in the system’s successful deployment, with an Elder Brother chairing the committee.

IALA maritime buoyage system

IALA maritime buoyage system

THV Ready (1947-77)

THV Ready (1947-77)