Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Tregarthen Douglass (erroneously spelt Douglas)
Designation: Engineer
Born: 1857
Died: 10 August 1913
Bio Notes: William Tregarthen Douglass (sometimes erroneously spelt Douglas) was born in 1857, the eldest son of Sir James Nicholas Douglass FRS, and his wife Mary, daughter of Captain James Tregarthen, ship-owner of St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly. He was educated at Dulwich College before becoming a pupil to his father who was Engineer-in-Chief to the Trinity House from 1862-1892.

In the early 1880s the younger Douglass acted as site engineer for the Eddystone Lighthouse and most of his subsequent professional activities related to matters of marine safety, including his appointment as inspecting engineer to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (from c.1880) and consulting engineer to the Public Works, Loan Board, Lighthouse and Harbour Authorities. Publications included “The New Eddystone Lighthouse”, “The More Efficient Lighting of Estuaries” and “Coastal Erosion”. He was also a contributor to the 1911 edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Notable lighthouses that he designed outwith Scotland included the Round Island Light, Isles of Scilly, built 1887, the second lighthouse, Rottnest Island and Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, both in Western Australia, built 1894-96, though the details were altered by the local engineer who supervised their construction.

Outwith his engineering work, Douglass had commercial interests as Chairman of General Petroleum Properties of Trinidad Limited and Chairman of the Maikop Shirvansky Oil Company Limited.

William Tregarthen Douglass drowned in a boating accident off Start Point near Dartmouth on 10 August 1913 at the age of 56 while visiting his mother.


“The New Eddystone Lighthouse” “The More Efficient Lighting of Estuaries” and “Coastal Erosion”

Contributor Encyclopaedia Britannica - Lighthouses

The Bishop Rock lighthouses. Paper by William Tregarthen Douglas... [Excerpt minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Vol. cviii. Session 1891-92. Part ii]

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this engineer:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 215, Victoria Street, Westminster, London, EnglandBusinessc. 18991913DSA originally had 10 Victoria Street, but it is unclear which source this came from.
Item 2 of 211, Airlie Gardens, Camden Hill, London, EnglandPrivate1913 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Buildings and Designs

This engineer was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 161898Lifeboat HouseCampbeltown ArgyllScotlandRole of Clifford unclear as the lighthouse and boathouse were erected under the supervision of Douglass's assistant, N G Gedye.
Item 2 of 161900Dunbar Lifeboat stationDunbar East LothianScotland 
Item 3 of 161903Anstruther Easter Harbour, lifeboat houseAnstruther Easter FifeScotland 
Item 4 of 161908Cluny HarbourBuckie BanffshireScotlandextension
Item 5 of 161909Lifeboat HouseSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 6 of 161909Lifeboat stationBroughty Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 7 of 161909St Abbs lifeboat house, Middle PierSt Abbs BerwickshireScotland 
Item 8 of 161910Eyemouth HarbourEyemouth BerwickshireScotlandProposed improvements
Item 9 of 161910Lifeboat houseGirvan AyrshireScotland 
Item 10 of 161910Stronsay lifeboat house and slipway StronsayOrkneyScotland 
Item 11 of 161911HarbourCullen BanffshireScotlandExtension, with new jetty, new road and retaining walls
Item 12 of 161911Peterhead lifeboat housePeterhead AberdeenshireScotlandsecond boathouse and roller slipway to the west of the South Harbour for the No.2 lifeboat
Item 13 of 161912Port Namarve lifeboat houseMachrihanish (near) ArgyllScotland 
Item 14 of 161913Findochty HarbourBuckie BanffshireScotlandExtension
Item 15 of 16Before 1913New HarbourDunbar East LothianScotlandproposed restoration and improvement (date not known)
Item 16 of 16Before 1913Port Logan lifeboat houseStranraer (near) WigtownshireScotland 


Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this engineer:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 6Builder15 August 1913  p180 - obituary
Item 2 of 6Building News15 August 1913  p222 - obituary
Item 3 of 6The Times25 May 1910  p19 Prospectus of the Maikop Shirvansky Oil Company Ltd.
Item 4 of 6The Times11 August 1913  p5, column A
Item 5 of 6The Times12 August 1913  p1 (death notice)
Item 6 of 6The Times1 September 1913  p3, column D (inquest)

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this engineer:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Courtesy of Neil DarlingtonInformation sent via DSA website Sent August 2009