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Sunday, 5 November 2017

Lantern Reinstated on Lightship that Saved Lives

After 40 years the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club have reinstalled a lantern aboard their historic lightvessel LV 50 in South Harbour Blyth. A lighting up ceremony was held on Sat 4 November as part of the Club's Bonfire Night celebrations. The lantern was switched on at approximately 1730 on Saturday 4th November followed by the lighting of the bonfire and firework display.
Built on the Thames between 1878-9 for the notorious Seven Stones Reef (off the Scilly Isles) LV 50 was commissioned in September 1879 (138 years ago). At the time she was the most modern wooden light vessel in the Trinity House fleet. Her 8 ft. revolving, flashing lantern (constructed by Chance Brothers of Birmingham) and her 3-reed compressed air foghorn were pioneering innovations.
LV 50 saw service on numerous sandbanks and reefs off south and east England where she provided warning to mariners of danger and provided a navigational fix in the era before GPS. In 1952 she was decommissioned by Trinity house, sold to wreckers in Harwich from whom the RNYC purchased her and towed her to Blyth. She has lain in South Harbour for the past 75 years as the House Yacht “Tyne”
Over the past 3 years The Friends of LV50 have sought to bring this historic vessel to the attention of the public, opening her for visits on the 4th Thursday of summer months and during Heritage Open Days.
The original 2-ton wrought iron lantern was discarded because of its poor condition. The current replica lantern, constructed by 2 Club members, is a wood and fibre glass construction.
In 2015 the RNYC celebrated the 125th anniversary of the clubs founding
Additional information on the history of LV50 can be found at

Current view of LV50 with her new lantern South Harbour Blyth. Courtesy Peter J Fairbairn

On Warner station (off Isle of Wight) 1935. Curtesy A+P Vickery collection

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