George IV Bridge – celebrating 50 years

Stevenson engineers' archive: acquired in 1990

The business archive of the Stevenson family of engineers consists of the firm's working papers. It includes letter-books, reports, financial records, maps, and plans relating to the many and varied engineering projects the Stevensons were involved in.

One of the family's earliest achievements was the building of the Bell Rock Lighthouse.

Robert Stevenson was the first of the Stevenson engineers and founder of the firm. During 1800, he visited the Bell Rock. He was convinced that a lighthouse could be built on the site, but his plans were only accepted in 1806. Construction started in 1807. Despite the most awful weather conditions, work continued until the beginning of 1811, when the light was illuminated.

The drawing shows the state of the building works in 1809.

For many years the Stevenson Collection was held on deposit at the National Library of Scotland. We finally bought it with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

For more information about the collection, see our Rare Books News Archive.

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