Sentinels of the Sea

I’m on a bit of a book spree at the minute; some about colour, some about historical airships, and some about magnificent achievements, in particular my continued obsession with Lighthouses. I don’t know why I’m so interested in these bygone instruments of safety; perhaps it’s the human spirit element or the loneliness. There’s something romantic about the thought of an isolated protector of life, keeping courageous ships from foundering on invisible rocks.

Anyway I stumbled upon the book Sentinels of the Sea whilst looking for books on the Bell Rock lighthouse in the National Museum last weekend and it looked, from the various pictures of inside, like a fascinating insight into the history and construction of not just Scotland’s lighthouses but worldwide. Sure enough, it’s really quite amazing with hundreds of really detailed reproductions of the original plans and sketches for these towers of light. Beside each one is an explanation and brief history of why and where this particular design was built.

I read it over a few evenings and came away more intrigued by lighthouses than ever. The innovation at the time with fresnel lenses, which went on to revolutionise cars, torches and other light emitting objects; it’s amazing. To think that some early rudimentary lighthouses were illuminated with a candle is to remind yourself how far technology has progressed, in such a short time.

At the back of the book is a list of references for each photo, plan and sketch; you can see from the density of this list just how much is crammed into this beautifully bound and presented hard-back book. A worthy addition to the bookshelf and my love for Lighthouses.