Envelope addressed to Captain Heddle of the Skerryvore steamer
Photograph of an envelope addressed to Captain Heddle of the Skerryvore steamer and date-stamped 1841.
Courtesy of Mr Alistair Morrison
Captain James Heddle was the master of the paddle steamer Skerryvore built by Menzies and Sons of Leith for the purpose of towing lighters loaded with granite blocks and other materials from the harbour at Hynish to the Skerryvore rocks during the building of the lighthouse.
The 150 ton wooden steamer was fitted with two engines of 30 horse power each at a total cost of over £6,350. Initially reluctant to embark on such an expense, the Northern Lighthouse Board eventually agreed when a suitable vessel for purchase could not be found. £1616 was recouped from the sale of the steamer in 1847.
In his Account of the Skerryvore Lighthouse Alan Stevenson highly commended Captain Heddle for ‘his unwearied exertion in the discharge of his harassing duty at Skerryvore’ which no doubt contributed to his sudden death in 1841 from tuberculosis of the lungs.