Tuesday, 14 January 2014


My two day stay aboard Lightship gave me the opportunity to record a number of ‘historical artefacts’, although dating them is not easy. The ship was built in 1878, but was extensively refurbished when Belfast Harbour bought her from the Commissioners of Irish Lights in 1943.

There were three brass double wall lights with bayonet holding bulbs and a pull-string on/off switch. The former was not invented until late in the 19th century and I doubt whether the latter appeared before WWI, so I assume they were part of the refurbishment. (Photo)

The second gem was also in brass and at first I thought it was a standard lamp, but I could see no electrical fittings and my guess now is that it was a hat/coat stand. Unfortunately it is not complete - one of the fish shaped feet;  one of the elaborate top hooks; and the central pole are all missing. (Photo)

The real prize is the riding light (if that is the correct term) which is nearly three foot in diameter, with a  1ft channel in the centre. (Photos) 

It splits in half to allow it to be wrapped around the mizzen mast and hoisted aloft by means of the four eyes on the top. This is an electric device and one of the bayonet bulb fittings is visible in both photos.

Simon intends to restore this and have it suspended above his dining table. Not for him an ordinary chandelier! However, the restoration of the dining room comes first!  (Photo)