Lantern reinstated on lifesaving lightship

The LV50 light vessel with her new lantern in South Harbour, Blyth. Picture courtesy of Peter J Fairbairn
The LV50 light vessel with her new lantern in South Harbour, Blyth. Picture courtesy of Peter J Fairbairn

The Royal Northumberland Yacht Club (RNYC) has reinstalled a lantern aboard its historic lightship LV 50 in South Harbour, Blyth, after an absence of 40 years.

Built on the Thames between 1878 and 1879 for the notorious Seven Stones Reef, off the Scilly Isles, LV 50 was commissioned 138 years ago in September 1879.

LV 50 on Warner station, off the Isle of Wight, February 1935. Courtesy A+P Vickery, ALK collection W 144.

LV 50 on Warner station, off the Isle of Wight, February 1935. Courtesy A+P Vickery, ALK collection W 144.

At the time, she was the most modern wooden light-vessel in the Trinity House fleet. Her 8ft revolving, flashing lantern, constructed by Chance Brothers of Birmingham, and her three-reed compressed air foghorn were pioneering innovations.

LV 50 saw service on numerous sandbanks and reefs off south and east England where she provided warning to mariners of danger and provided a navigational fix in the era before GPS.

In 1952, she was decommissioned by Trinity House, sold to wreckers in Harwich from whom the RNYC purchased her and towed her to Blyth.

She has lain in South Harbour for the past 65 years as the House Yacht Tyne.

Over the past three years, The Friends of LV50 have sought to bring this historic vessel to the attention of the public. The original two-ton wrought iron lantern was discarded because of its poor condition.

The current replica lantern, constructed by two club members, is a woodand fibre glass construction.

The LV 50 is listed on the National Historic Ships Register and is one of only three floating wooden lightships left in the UK.

The RNYC has opened her for visits on the fourth Thursday of summer months and during Heritage Open Days.

In 2015, the RNYC celebrated the 125th anniversary of the club’s founding

Additional information on the history of LV50 can be found at https://rnyc.org.uk/history/hy-tyne- iii-history- updated/