HC Deb 04 July 1881 vol 262 cc1957-9

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether the system of illuminating lighthouses by gas, patented by Mr. Wigham, of Dublin, has been strongly recommended by Sir William Thompson, F.R.S., Admiral Sir Leopold McClintock, and Professor Tyndall, scientific adviser to the Board of Trade, the Trinity House, and the Board of Irish Lights, and by other high autho- rities; and strong testimony given in its favour by seamen and other qualified observers; whether the Trinity House in January 1875 recommended the further development of the system in Ireland; whether with one exception no lighthouse has since been lighted under that system either in England or Ireland; whether this is due to the opposition of the Messieurs Douglas, engineers to the Trinity House and the Board of Irish Lights; whether the Mr. Douglas, engineer to the Board of Irish Lights, is brother to the Mr. Douglas, engineer to the Trinity House; and, whether he would consider how far the development of an improved system of lighthouse illumination may be arrested by official opposition?


, in reply, said, testimonials had been received from the gentlemen whose names were mentioned in the Question in favour of the system of illuminating lighthouses by gas, patented by Mr. Wigham; but it must not be supposed that they were in favour of the adoption of that system to the exclusion of every other system. It was the case that in January, 1875, the Trinity House, yielding a little its own opinions in deference to the recommendation of the Irish Light Commissioners, did consent to recommend the development of this particular system in Ireland. Since then one lighthouse had been lighted with gas, and another to be similarly illuminated had been sanctioned at Cope-land Island. Proposals had been made for two more lighthouses on the same system; but, in December, 1878, the Irish Lighthouse Commissioners suggested that further consideration on this subject should be postponed, and subsequently they withdrew their proposal with regard to Fanad Point; but he was told with regard to Tory Island that estimates had been sought, and were now being prepared. With regard to the three other Questions he regretted they had been put upon the Paper, because they implied an imputation upon two very honourable public servants. The Messrs. Douglas were brothers. They were engineers to the Irish Lighthouse Commissioners and the Trinity House. It was their duty from time to time to offer their opinion upon the different systems of lighting which were submitted. He had no reason to believe that they had ever exceeded their duty in this respect; but the responsibility of final decision rested entirely with, the respective Boards.