David Alan Stevenson

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David Alan Stevenson
Born 21 July 1854
Died 11 April 1938(1938-04-11) (aged 83)
Alma mater Edinburgh University
Occupation Lighthouse engineer
Employer Northern Lighthouse Board
Annie Roberts (m. 1882)
Children D. E. Stevenson
Parent(s) David Stevenson (father)
Elizabeth Mackay (mother)
Relatives Charles Alexander Stevenson (brother)

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.


The Stevenson family grave, Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh
The grave of David Alan Stevenson, Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh

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 the University of Edinburgh.[2]

Stevenson died at his home, "Troqueer", in the Kingsknowe area of Edinburgh on 11 April 1938.[2] He is buried in Dean Cemetery.[5] The simple grave lies near the north-east corner of the first north extension, but he is also memorialised on the main family grave in the main cemetery. His younger brother Charles Alexander Stevenson lies alongside his true grave.


In 1882 he married Annie Roberts (1862–1945).[2] The family resided in Edinburgh. 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.[6]



In 1884 Stevenson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were William Swan, Peter Guthrie Tait, Robert Mackay Smith, and George Chrystal.[2]

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.[7]

He retired aged 83 in March 1938.

Lighthouses of David A Stevenson[edit]

Stevenson worked on 26 lighthouses during his career. Among them are:[5]


  1. ^ "Former Fellows of The Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783 – 2002" (PDF). Retrieved 5 April 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ a b 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. 
  6. ^ Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust (3 August 2016). "3 Edinburgh Women Writers Honoured with Commemorative Plaques" (Press release). Edinburgh City of Literature. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  7. ^ Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: obituaries June 1966