Light Vessel 50 H.Y. Tyne

Lightship built 1879 by Unknown

Ensign House flag


National Historic Fleet

Service Vessel

Light vessel



Commercial Activity

Commercial premises












To be confirmed

20.98 feet (6.40 metres)

99.93 feet (30.48 metres)

8.98 feet (2.74 metres)



H.Y. TYNE III is one of the last remaining wooden lightships afloat, now used as the headquarters of the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club inBlyth. She was ordered in 1878 by Trinity House specifically to serve on Seven Stones off the Isles of Scilly, some of the roughest waters around the coast of theUnited Kingdom.  Built in 1879 by Fletcher, Son and Fearnall at their Union Dock,London, to a design by Bernard Waymouth, she was Trinity Light Vessel No.50 and served on many stations, including Seven Stones, Shambles, Outer Gabbard, Warner and Calshot Spit. In 1952, following decommissioning she was sent to Harwich for breaking, where she was rescued by the RNYC, towed to Blyth and refitted to become the third vessel to serve as the club’s house yacht.

Her construction is that of a timber built vessel double planked with 3” teak timbers on 4” oak frames, copper-fastened throughout and sheathed with Muntz metal. Her single revolving light gave three flashes in quick succession at intervals of one minute. Built by Chance Brothers, the original catoptric light had nine Argand lamps with silver paraboloid reflectors arranged on a turntable rotated by a clockwork mechanism. She was fitted with a reed fog horn, developed at Souter, driven initially by a pair of 5 HP Brown caloric engines from New York; fuelled by coke these supplied compressed air for the sirens, later she had Hornsby fog engines. The ‘Harfield’ windlass, used to lift the anchor chain, was made in Gateshead and also driven by compressed air.

Peter Williams, Leading Lights (Volume 1 Edition 3, 1995, pp57-60) Light Vessel Directory pub: Peter Williams Asociates
Liz King, The Northumbrian (2 March, 1998, pp43-5) A Lightship to the rescue


This vessel is the last all-wooden light vessel, constructed for Trinity House in 1879.  Her design of 1878 is credited to Bernard Weymouth, Secretary to Lloyds and one of the architects of the “plimsoll line”. Her hull remains largely original, including the massive wrought iron hanging and lodging knees. Her robust design is testament to the shipbuilding skills of the late nineteenth century.  She was never fitted with an engine, being towed to station as required. She retains her original metal mast and lantern lifting mechanism.  However, for her role as a house yacht, her light fitting, topmast and deck-houses were removed or replaced and no longer survive.  She is therefore presently considered as being ‘in ordinary’ - a Naval term where she was dressed to ensure longevity whilst out of use as a light vessel.  Her accommodation has been modified to allow her to be used as a House Yacht.

Details of her time at stations, crew lists and other operational accounts were believed lost when the headquarters of Trinity House were bombed in the Second World War. Recently, The Friends of LV50 found some surviving Trinity House records at the London Metropolitan Archives, which along with local newspaper and other archival resources have begun to provide details of her unknown history. Additional research may allow elaboration of further details. 

HY TYNE III is a sturdy vessel, with a double-skinned hull built of teak on oak frames with bronze fastenings and sheathed in copper.  She was built to a design ready to withstand all weathers whilst on station for several years at a time. Her enclosed stern, a “whaleback”, and deck planking up to 8 inches thick gave extra protection from heavy following seas breaking over her. Without engines her mizzen mast and sail allowed some means of manoeuvrability. She remains afloat now in the form of a house yacht.

Previous names

  1. 1879 – 1952LV 50

Key dates

  1. 1879 Built by Fletcher, Son and Fearnall, Union Dock, London to a design by Bernard Waymouth. Initial Station was Seven Stones, Scilly Isles.
  2. 1879 - 1952  Served as a lightship at various locations: Trinity House records destroyed by enemy action during World War II Latterly served as LV50 and named CALSHOT SPIT
  3. 1886 Following severe storm damage she was towed to London where after extensive repairs she became the London Spare.
  4. 1891 Stationed at Shambles, Weymouth. 
  5. 1910 Stationed at Outer Gabbard, off Felixstowe.
  6. 1935 Stationed at Warner Sandbank, Isle of Wight.
  7. 1952 Her last station was Calshot Spit before decommissioning and acquisition by Royal Northumberland Yacht Club


  1. 1995 Leading Lights Light Vessel Directory
  2. 1998 The Northumbrian A Lightship to the rescue


  1. April 2014 Development funding of £69,600 from HLF in order to allow RNYC to progress plans to apply for a full grant. 
  2. April 2015 HLF bid to undertake extensive preservation work was unsuccessful.  As a result, RNYC is now undertaking privately financed limited and essential preservation work
If you are the owner of the vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information please contact


a rope, chain or iron collar which attaches the yard to the mast but which allows vertical movement