TWO HUNDRED years after his great-great-great grandfather helped build it, David Taylor’s website www.bellrock.org.uk is ensuring the fascinating story of the Bell Rock Lighthouse is known across the world.
He set up the website 11 years ago in honour of his ancestor, Captain David Taylor, the Arbroath ship’s master who worked alongside Robert Stevenson during the construction of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, which was completed in 1811.
David, who lives with his wife, Nessie, in Edinburgh, continues his family’s ancestral links with Arbroath with a second home in the town.
He explained: “Ever since the website launched in 1999, I have been amazed by the high numbers of visitors from across the globe, which is partly due to the iconic status of the Bell Rock Lighthouse. However, it’s also due to the regular - and worldwide - transmission of the BBC’s documentary series ‘The Seven Wonders of the Industrial World’.
“Every time the episode featuring the Bell Rock Lighthouse is shown, there’s a dramatic increase in hits from that particular country. For example, when it was shown in Australia, we had 7,000 Australian hits in 72 hours!”
David has been closely involved in the Year of the Light, the community-led programme of special events taking place in Arbroath throughout 2011 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse.
“According to the latest statistics, the bicentenary celebrations have led to www.bellrock.org.uk receiving even more hits than normal,” said David, who is a member of the Year of the Light Steering Committee, which is supported by Arbroath and Area Local Community Planning Team.
“In the two weeks surrounding the February 1 fireworks display which launched the Year of the Light, the site received over 6,500 hits from the UK - which is almost half as many UK hits as the site received throughout 2010.
He continued: “The excellent television, newspaper and radio coverage provided for the bicentenary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse and the Year of the Light celebrations certainly appears to have caught the attention of people across the UK and inspired them to find out more by visiting the website. During the Year of the Light’s launch week, there were also high numbers of hits from the USA and Australia, as well as a few from Nepal and Korea.
“This site is certainly ensuring people in every corner of the globe are aware of the Bell Rock Lighthouse. www.bellrock.org.uk has been visited by people from 165 different countries, including visitors from some very remote places. St Helena, a tiny volcanic island in the middle of the South Atlantic, Samoa and Kyrgyzstan, which is on the Chinese-Russian border, are only three of the more obscure places that have ‘hit’ the website over the years.
Mr Taylor concluded: “It appears the Bell Rock Lighthouse captivates people no matter where in the world they live. Hopefully, by visiting the website, some of them will be tempted to come to Arbroath and experience the wonders of the Bell Rock Lighthouse in person.”
For more information about the Year of the Light, which is sponsored by JD Wetherspoon, or to download the programme of special events taking place in Arbroath this year to mark the 200th anniversary of the completion of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, visit www.angusahead.com/bellrocklighthouse