The Club has now resumed its regular evening meetings after a short break over Christmas and New Year. At two of the January meetings there were guest speakers who talked to members on two very different topics.
Peter Kean is an ambassador for Trinity House, the official authority for lighthouses in England & Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. Himself a retired merchant mariner, Peter spoke about the history of Trinity House from the granting of its first Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1514 to the present day. There have of course been many developments over such a long period of time. There were shore-based lighthouses to start with, followed by the first rock lighthouse in 1698 on the Eddystone Rock. Then light-vessels were added in places such as river estuaries. The first of these was in position in 1732 near the Nore Sands in the mouth of the Thames.
Lighthouses are no longer manned as the lights themselves are now automated and solar-powered, as are the buoys which Trinity House is responsible for. Global positioning and e-navigation systems are just two of the latest technological developments which have been introduced.
All a far cry from the oil lamps in the original lighthouses, but all still designed to ensure the safety of shipping and the well-being of seafarers.
Peter’s talk was of particular interest as Faversham is so close to the sea and the busy Thames estuary.