Friday, 11 October 2013

Lightship Cormorant / Lady Dixon Chapter 8

While I have convinced myself that Simon's vessel is not the same one as depicted in the Belfast Pilot Station photograph (see Chapter 6), I am now very confident that it is the same vessel as depicted in the 1960s photograph of Lady Dixon taken I believe in Pitsea.

With the aid of my trusty computer, I traced the main features of this ship and transferred them onto a photograph of the Beast, which I took on a recent visit. The angle of the two vessels is not quite the same - had I planned ahead I would have stood a couple of feet further along - so some of the features do not quite match up. However I think you can see that with an adjustment in camera angle, they will.

The bulwark has long since disappeared, but otherwise it is a very good match. Incidentally, a number of the original stanchions/ribs that supported the bulwark are still there and Simon has bought over 50ft of suitable timber to replace the missing/unusable ones. The timber - reclaimed roof joists - he got at a real knock-down price (good old eBay!). He does not plan to fill in with planks as original, but will have a ship's rail on top and a safety rail at the half height level for most of the ship, with a built in curve at the stern, with built in seating.  Something like this .....

Meanwhile, if Lady Dixon and the Beast are the same ship and the Pilot Station and the Beast are not, then the red Lady Dixon and the Pilot Station are also not the same ship. So what has gone on between the lightship called Cormorant and the Pilot Station called Lady Dixon; and the Pilot Station called Lady Dixon and the red ship called Lady Dixon??  I am hoping the two documents from the National Archives might throw some light on the matter.