On This Day in Trinity House History – 16 June

1617

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.

 


1742

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


1944

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 – 16 May

1741

The First Trinity House Buoy Tender

The Board minutes record the origins of the Corporation’s first vessel:

“The Master was pleased to observe that he thought it might be of service to the Corporation & for the Safety of His Majesty’s Ships to have a vessel of our own, to be sent down amongst the Sands, to observe their bearings, the setting of the Tides & the Depths of Water, Especially from the Naze to the North Foreland & to have some of our Pilots go therein for their Improvement, under the Direction of some of the Brethren, as also for the better care & placing of our Buoys.”

One month later, the minutes would name the vessel and issue its first assignment:

“Our Buoy boat called the Trinity Sloop, being now ready… and she to be sent out immediately on an inspection of the Buoys and Beacons in the North and South Channels.”

The ensuing ‘Yacht Establishment,’ a precursor to the Steam (later ‘Support’) Vessel Service was also used to survey the shifting sands of the Thames, a function performed today by the Admiralty Hydrographer and the Port of London Authority.

For a full history of the Trinity House Support Vessel Service, readers may want to pick up a copy of Richard Woodman’s Keepers of the Sea, the story of the Trinity House Yachts and Tenders.

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

On This Day in Trinity House History – 20 April

1743

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.”

 


1946

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