Research on this project was funded as a Local Heritage Initiative project of the
Lottery Heritage Fund|
|c.1811||Liverpool Corporation Docks Committee, consider a light to mark the
entrance to the River.|
|July 1812||Corporation request the opinions of interested parties as to
discontinuing the light on Point Linus (now Lynas) and substituting a floating light at
the Northwest station, off East Hoyle sandbank. Replies were considered and Point Lynas
light retained but it was decided to add a floating light buoy as and aid to navigation.|
|Sept 1813||An oak built Dutch Galliot (a flat bottomed cargo vessel) of
about 90 tons was purchased for £525 and suitable alterations commenced to make her fit for
purpose. 1st Dec1813 named the ‘GOOD INTENT’ she was established at the Northwest Station,
some 5 miles off Hilbre Island. Considerable early difficulties were encountered with
cables parting and lamps blowing out (3 single wick oil lamps hoisted up the mast in a
wooden frame). In spite of this she proved indispensable to trade and served until 1836
when she was withdrawn and sold for £21.
It was soon realised that a relief lightship would be required and this duty was first
undertaken by ‘AURORA’ which was later converted to a buoy tender and survey vessel.|
|1817||MILO, built by Messrs Peter Quirke, and proved much superior to the
|1820||COMET, launched by Messrs Humble & Hurry.|
|1833||NORTH STAR built at a cost of £1833.
A New channel (Queens) was in use for larger vessels, instead of Horse and Rock Channels.|
|1834||Formby lightship established, by MILO or NORTH STAR.|
|1835||METEOR launched, she was a superb vessel and her record was a great
testament to the skill and craftsmanship of her builders Messrs Humble & Milchrist.
During violent storms in 1839 her moorings parted and although a large number of fine
vessels were lost in the bay she succeeded in making the river under her own sail.
She served as a lightship for 45 years and was finally broken–up (scrapped) in 1916.|
|1839||QUEEN, launched. L71ft. B15ft. Displmt.81tons. Cost
£2,800 +Lanterns etc. £960. (still in use as a LUMP in 1880)|
|1840||Crosby Station established.
**All the vessels to date were built of oak, which was considered the most suitable
|1841||About this time the question of building vessels of ‘IRON’ was raised.
It was generally met with disapproval by some of the foremost experts of the day.
The Dock Trustees nevertheless decided to try this relative new material for the
construction of their next vessel.|
|1842||The first Iron lightship in the world, ‘PRINCE’, built by Messrs.
Laird Bros. of Birkenhead. Length 99 ft, Breadth 21ft, Depth 13.5ft, Displacement 200
tons, Mean draft of 9ft.|
|1843||PRINCE, was placed on the Northwest Station and after a severe
winter any doubts about her seaworthiness and general practicability were displaced.
She was later converted to a Wreck marking vessel (1896) and finally sold for Scrap
|1850||TOBIN, built by Vernons of Liverpool, L.98ft. B.21ft. D.11.5ft.
Displmt.200tons. After several years of Iron ship experience proved their advantages over
oak built vessels, the dock trusties decided that in future all lightships would be built
|1858||Mersey Docks and Harbour Board take over the running of the docks
from the City Council.|
|1866||COMET (2), built by Potter and Co. Positioned at Formby Station.
Sold in 1950.|
|1870||PRINCE (2), built by R& J Evans of Birkenhead.|
|1873||SIRIUS and ORION, Built by Potter& Hodgkinson, Liverpool...|
The BAR lightship COMET placed on station, marking the start of the main deepwater channel
previously marked only by a Bell Boat Buoy.
The N.W. Station was also moved, to a position 7 Miles west of the Bar Light.
|1874||ORION, on station at the Bar until 1880.|
|1880||METEOR, converted to Wreck watch vessel. Note: She passed a Lloyd’s
special survey in 1910 and was still employed in 1913 in good condition and fit for further
years of service.|
|1880||PLANET (1), launched, by R&J. Evans of Birkenhead, positioned at
Liverpool Bar. |
|1885||STAR and ALARM (1), launched.|
|1886||MARS, built at Runcorn for the Upper Mersey Station (Otterspool) -
|1893||Bar L/V. moved 6 cables, from original position to be aligned with
Formby and Crosby L/Vs|
|1894||After 44 years in the Liverpool Bay, TORBIN was sold to the North
British Railway Co. and in 1913 was still serving as a Lightship for Silloth Harbour,
|1895||COMET, sunk at Crosby Station.|
|1898||COMET, sunk at Crosby Station.|
|1899||After 57 years in the Liverpool Bay, PRINCE (2) was withdrawn from
service and converted to a Wreck-watching vessel.|
|1909||COMET, sunk at the Crosby Station.|
|1911||Elders & Fyffe’s vessel ‘PACUARE ‘rammed and sank the Northwest
Lightship. (PLANET 1). The lightship was raised but declared a total loss.
(Sunk 22nd. Aug.1911)|
|1912||MARS, converted for use as a Sand Barge.|
|1912||ALARM (2), launched built by Hawthorn &Co. (Leith, Scotland).
|1913||Lightship ALARM(2), with a 40,000 candle power light, positioned at
the Bar station. She was built to replace the lightship, which was run down and sunk by a
steamer. At this time the latest lightship then owned by the MDHB was built in 1885 and
many new developments were incorporated in the ALARM (2). She was fitted with a 200watt
radio station having a range of 20 miles enabling direct communication with the dock
|1915||ORION , converted to Wreck-watching vessel.|
Note. Renamed MARKER in 1934, as Orient Line required the name for a passenger liner.
|1921||Formby Station PLANET (1) run down and sunk by Elders and Fyffe’s
vessel‘GREENBRIER’. She was outward bound from Garston; all the six lightship crew members
|1923||NORTH WESTERN - BAR - FORMBY - CROSBY lightships all had their BLACK
Hulls repainted in RED, and their names written in Large WHITE letters.|
|1927||L/v. MARS, previously converted to a barge was broken-up for scrap.|
|1927||The Northwest light vessel STAR, was removed and replaced by a
mechanical bell beacon.|
Note. During the1914 – 1918 war German U-Boats used the STAR as a rendezvous.
(Star’s crew could hear the submarine engines pulsing beneath them).
She was secretly towed away by the Admiralty to circumvent this happening.
|1931||Steamer RUTLAND, outward bound from Manchester, hit the Formby
lightship PLANET (1) which sustained damage to her hull and upper works. She was replaced
by ORION as relief Lightvessel.|
|1932||The Liverpool Stipendiary (Mr, Stuart Deacon) reserved decision in
the case in which Capt. Robert Cecil Smith, master of the steamship Rutland of Leith was
accused of carelessly permitting his ship to strike against the Formby lightship PLANET,
on Dec 29, last and failing to stand-by (wait) until he had ascertained that the
lightship was not in need of assistance.|
|1939||Crosby lightship COMET(2) broke adrift from her station in a strong
westerly gale. The replacement lightship SIRIUS was placed in position.
At a subsequent BOT inquiry, April1939, the MDHB informed the President that the cause
had been traced to the working-out (removal) of a locking pin in the swivel-pin nut of
the chain cable which moored the vessel They were now adopting a different type of swivel
and also stated that the lightships were fitted with two spare anchors and cables,
two lifeboats, four lifefloats, four lifebuoys and six life jackets. The New Brighton
and Hoylake lifeboats and one of their own tenders were always available in an
|1942||STAR, run down and sunk at the Formby station on 7th Sept.1942,
by ‘EMPIRE SNIPE’. Formby Station Lightship withdrawn and replaced by a Light float Buoy.|
|1942||Northwest Lightship, repositioned approx. 25 miles seaward from her
original peacetime position and renamed WESTERN.|
|1947||Lightship WESTERN (Planet) which was placed 25 miles beyond the
Mersey Bar during the war to guide mariners into the swept channel, was towed out to the
NorthWest station to act again with the Formby, Crosby and Bar Lightships, she was
equipped with a flashing light which could be seen 10 miles away in clear weather.|
|1949||NORTH WEST Lightship withdrawn and replaced by Light float buoy.|
|1950||COMET (2), withdrawn from Crosby Station, replaced by Light float
buoy. Sold for a reputed £1.00.|
Note.She survived as RN.Association Club ship at Morecambe until scraped at Barrow in 1956.
|1951||Tug Edgerton delivered Christmas Hampers to the Bar Lightship and
the storeship STAR anchored at the Sloane near to the entrance of the Manchester Ship
|1956||Fire broke out on the Bar Lightship (ALARM) undergoing repairs in
Clarence Dock. Six appliances attended the fire, located amongst timber stored in a
ballast hold. Reserve Lightship PLANET(1) (1880) in used as a replacement lightship. |
|1958||MDHB decided to commission a new lightship for the Mersey Bar as a
replacement for the ALARM (built 1912). After 45 years service she was in urgent need of
major repairs, as these would prolonged her working life for only seven years, it was
decided that Philips of Dartmouth would be offered the contract to deliver a new vessel
similar to the 25 vessels already designed and operated by Trinity House.|
|May 1960||The new Bar Lightship, named PLANET, was launched by
Philip & Son, Ltd. at Dartmouth.
L.133ft. D.26.5ft. D.12.5ft. Cost £165,000.|
|Oct. 1960||PLANET (2) positioned on station at Liverpool Bar.
(Note.Planet1 renamed Mersey No.44 ).|
|May 1962||Light ships ALARM and Mersey No. 44 (Ex Planet1), left Liverpool
for breaking up. Sold Pounds of Portsmouth for £4000.|
|Aug 1965.||Bar lightship PLANET (2), withdrawn from station for a month
repaired at Cammel-Lairds. She was replaced by a lightship hired from Trinity House.|
|Aug 1966||The Bar Lightship moved to a new position southwest of its
previous location, following completion of the scheme to deepen the channel to a
minimum of 28 ft. at low water, and to straighten the approach channel to the Port of
|June 1971||Talks commenced between the MDHC and Trinity House over the
possible transfer of responsibility for some lighthouses and the Mersey Bar lightship.|
|Sept. 1972||Bar Lightship PLANET, replaced by a LANBY BUOY.
(Large Automatic Navigation Buoy)|
|Dec. 1972||PLANET towed to Holyhead following transfer to Trinity House
fleet and given No.23.|
|April 1973||Trinity House assumes responsibility for all approaches to the
|1993 to Date.||LANBY Buoy replaced by Auto Buoy No2 L.55ft. Light power
Research on this project was funded as a Local Heritage Initiative project of the
Lottery Heritage Fund|