David Alan Stevenson

David Alan Stevenson FRSE MIME FRSSA MICE (21 July 1854 in Edinburgh – 11 April 1938)[1] was a lighthouse engineer who built twenty six lighthouses in and around Scotland.

David Alan Stevenson
Born21 July 1854
Died11 April 1938(1938-04-11) (aged 83)
Alma materEdinburgh University
OccupationLighthouse engineer
EmployerNorthern Lighthouse Board
Annie Roberts (m. 1882)
ChildrenD. E. Stevenson
Parent(s)David Stevenson (father)
Elizabeth Mackay (mother)
RelativesCharles Alexander Stevenson (brother)


He was born on 21 July 1854 the son of David Stevenson and his wife, Elizabeth Mackay.[2] His early years were spent at their home at 8 Forth Street in the eastern section of the New Town in Edinburgh.[3] The family later moved to 45 Melville Street.[4]

He was part of the famous Stevenson family of lighthouse engineers, including brother Charles Stevenson, uncle Thomas Stevenson, and grandfather Robert Stevenson. His cousin was the author Robert Louis Stevenson.

Stevenson was educated at Edinburgh Academy (1865–70) and then studied Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, graduating BSc in 1875.[2]

In 1884 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were William Swan, Peter Guthrie Tait, Robert MacKay Smith and George Chrystal.).[5]

Stevenson died at his home, "Troqueer", in the Kingsknowe area of Edinburgh on 11 April 1938.[2] He is buried in Dean Cemetery.[6] The grave lies on the north wall of the original cemetery, backing onto the first northern extension. It is heavily worn.


In 1882 he married Annie Roberts (1862–1945).[2] The family resided in Edinburgh's West End at 45 Melville Street.[7]

Their daughter Dorothy Emily was born in 1892; she became a best-selling author of more than 40 books published under the name D. E. Stevenson. A commemorative plaque marks the house.[8]

His nephew was also named David Alan Stevenson (1891-1971).


Between 1885 and 1886 he built three lighthouses with his uncle Thomas, and over the following 50 years, built a further 23 with his brother Charles.

From 1904 he was assisted by John Davidson Gardner who became his Chief assistant in 1911.[9]

He retired aged 83 in March 1938.

Lighthouses of David A Stevenson

Stevenson worked on 26 lighthouses during his career. Among them are:[6]


  1. "Former Fellows of The Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783 – 2002" (PDF). Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  2. Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1783 – 2002: Biographical Index, Part Two (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. p. 883. ISBN 0 902198 84 X.
  3. Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1854-5
  4. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1880
  5. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
  6. The Editors of The Gazetteer for Scotland. "David Alan Stevenson (David A. Stevenson), 1854 - 1938". The Gazetteer for Scotland. Archived from the original on 2 January 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  7. edinburgh Post Office directory 1883
  8. Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust (3 August 2016). "3 Edinburgh Women Writers Honoured with Commemorative Plaques" (Press release). Edinburgh City of Literature. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  9. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: obituaries June 1966
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