Object of the Month April 2018

The Lighthouse Telescope (LISDD:2018.238)

Alexander Adie (1775-1859) was a leading instrument maker, supplying high-quality lenses from his Princes Street shop to famous scientists, including Joseph Hooker, Charles Darwin and David Brewster. He was also optician to Queen Victoria. 

The Lismore Lighthouse telescope. Length 70cm; extended length 87cm; objective end diameter 6cm

This Victorian leather-bound brass telescope, inscribed Adie & Wedderburn, Edinburgh, would have been manufactured in the 1840s, when he was briefly in partnership, at the end of his career. 


The Lismore Lighthouse on Eilean Musdile was built in 1833 by Robert Stevenson (Engineer to the Northern Lighthouse Board) to ensure that vessels avoided the currents and reefs at the south end of the island. It was his last in an astonishing decade of activity: Rinns of Islay (1825), Buchan Ness (1827), Cape Wrath (1828), Tarbat Ness (1830), Mull of Galloway (1830), Dunnet Head (1831), Girdle Ness (1833) and Barra Head (1833).

The telescope, inscribed “Lismore Lighthouse (Signalmen)”:

would have been part of the original equipment.

Lismore Historical Society is grateful to Mrs Suzanne Clarke, Aberdeen, who donated her father’s telescope in March 2018. 

Lismore Lighthouse on Eilean Musdile 

The reefs near Eilean Musdile – why the lighthouse was needed


Tags: lighthouse, telescope, Alexander Adie, lenses, Robert Stevenson, Northern Lighthouse Board, Eilean Musdile