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Records of a Family of Engineers Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The elder Stevenson was the first of a long line of lighthouse-builders and his account of the building of the Bell Rock light is a wonder of human ingenuity, determination and endurance. If you should ever think that your own job is not quite what you wished it to be, just think back to the conditions of the lighthouse builders described here.
It's a cracking read and really brings the romance and daring of great engineering to the modern reader.
In the case of the Bell Rock lighthouse the fundamental questions for its design were how high would the waves be and how strong would the structure have to be to withstand them? Any underestimation would be fatal to the project and over-estimation possibly render the project either financially or practically unattainable.
Once these fundamental design decisions had been made further decisions had to be made regarding how to proceed with and the practicalities of construction. What strikes me as a Civil Engineer myself is how in the case of the Bell Rock lighthouse, so much of the total responsibility was carried by one man in comparison to today's practice.
No wonder his favourite toast on completion of the project was "To the stability of the Bell Rock lighthouse".
All of these considerations are presented by the author in the form of a story with contributions from his father's and grandfather's diaries.
A thoroughly good read.
The second half is a fascinating day by day account of the building of the Lighthouse on Bell Rock, of interest to the Civil Engineer or Boater, the Rock being under water for most of the early parts of the construction.