Trinity House

Trinity House

The Corporation of Trinity House have their home in EC3. They moved into the City in 1660 and to their present site in Trinity Square in 1796.

Who are they and what do they do?

The members of Trinity House are known as Elder and Younger Brethren and number around 450. They are governed by a Master and the majority of members have a background in the Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, Port and Harbour Authorities.

For more than 500 years Trinity House has been looking after the safety, welfare and education of mariners and today they are best known as a General Lighthouse Authority (GLA), one of three GLA’s responsible for Aids to Navigation (ATONs) around the coasts of Britain and Ireland. ATONs include lighthouses, buoys, lightvessels as well as satellite communication.

As a GLA, Trinity House is responsible for the ATONs around the coasts of England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. The Northern Lighthouse Board are responsible for the coasts of Scotland and the Isle of Man, and the Commissioners for Irish Lights are responsible for the entire coast of Ireland.


Trinity House also has other functions:

Origins

The origin of Trinity House lies with a company of mariners based at Deptford alongside the river Thames who in 1513 petitioned King Henry V111. They were concerned about the lack of regulation of pilotage on the Thames and were rewarded with the issue of a Royal Charter in 1514.

Granted by the King, that gave Trinity House the responsibility for regulating pilotage on the river; a responsibility they exercised until 1987 when the Pilotage Act authorized Trinity House to pass its District Pilotage responsibilities to various local harbour authorities.

The Corporation built their new house in the 1790s and moved here from Water Lane, also in EC3, where they had been based since 1660. The house was designed by their Surveyor Samuel Wyatt who was also responsible for laying out Trinity Square Gardens.

Incendiary bombs fell on the roof of the house during the London blitz in December 1940, gutting the inside and leaving only the outer walls. After the war, architect Albert Richardson was responsible for the rebuilding of the house, largely to the original footprint but with an extension at the eastern end.

See the Trinity House website for more information.

If you’d like to have a tour, see Tours of Trinity House.