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    Re: Sumner and the Smalls lighthouse.
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2006 Apr 2, 01:17 +0100

    | Bill asked, several weeks ago now, in a thread labelled "Simple celestial navigation in 1897"-
    || Back to Sumner, I eagerly await the results of George's inquiries into
    || Small's/Smalls (and other?) "migrating" lighthouse(s).  It was clearly IMHO
    || within the abilities of civil engineers to erect such a structure on a
    || submerged shoal or foundation circa Smalls # 2.  Is relocation the case, or
    || were there measurement problems?
    I have tried to get information about the earlier incarnation of the Smalls lighthouse from Trinity
    House, the lighthouse authority for English waters. They have proved a dead loss, in spite of
    several nudgings and promises.
    So I've been to the mailing-list of the Royal Institute of Navigation, at rinforum@rin.org.uk   and
    had an immediate response from Malcolm Tennant, who kindly responded-
    Current position according to the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
    (UKHO)is 5143.27N, 540.19W.
    Information on earlier positions of the light will be available in the
    UKHO Archives but there may be a charge for research.
    Make your request to research@ukho.gov.uk
    Mal Tennant
    Head of Sailing Directions
    +44 (0)1823-337900 x 3382
    So I did just that, and the following day a collection of scans of the relevant parts of several old
    charts and surveys, of the Sumner era, arrived, without any charge, from -
    Guy Hannaford
    Archives Research Manager
    UK Hydrographic Office
    TA1 2DN
    Tel: 01823 337900 Ext 3409
    I provide these details because it's such a pleasant change to have a prompt, efficient, and
    relevant response from a government organisation. Nav-L members might like to be aware of the
    service that's available. I think I was quite lucky to get away without being charged; perhaps
    because the query was of interest to them. If anyone wants it, I have a copy of their "terms of
    The end-result of all this is to prove what I had suspected; that the old Smalls lighthouse that
    Sumner saw, and its replacement in 1861, are within a few feet of the same spot on the same rock,
    the only rock that's always above sea level. And it's all of 5 miles away from the spot that Sumner
    showed it on his sketch map. Unless Sumner happened to possess a chart or light-list that showed the
    light 5 miles North of where it really was, it seems that he falsified the position of the light so
    as to make a more dramatic story out of the first "Sumner line". In my eyes, that rather diminishes
    the stature of Captain Thomas Sumner.
    contact George Huxtable at george@huxtable.u-net.com
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.

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