500 years of the Corporation of Trinity House* – Today, 20 May 2014, is the 500th anniversary of the Corporation of Trinity House. 500 years ago today Henry VIII awarded a Royal Charter that established our organisation and set in train five centuries of Serving the Mariner.
Over that time we have seen and influenced advances in technology and legislation which has impacted on the way we operate but our remit has always been, and remains to this day, to serve the mariner regardless of whether the mariner is working, training or retired.
We are perhaps best known for being the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales and the Channel Islands, providing over 600 aids to navigation and auditing a further 10, 000 to allow mariners to safely navigate some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. But we are also the UK’s largest self-funded maritime charity, generating an income from our wholly owned assets which allows us to distribute upwards of £3m per annum to maritime charities. Through this charity we provide almshouses for former Mariners and their dependants, and support those wishing to embark on a career at sea through our cadet schemes.
In addition to our usual bequests, this year we have also made a grant in excess of £2m to develop a community hub for retired mariners at the Nautilus Welfare operated almshouses in Wallasey, Merseyside. This hub was officially opened in April by HRH The Princess Royal, Master of Trinity House. We have also funded the development of a boathouse in Ramsgate for the RNLI, and are providing financial support for the employment of Family Support Officer to provide assistance to families of mariners in difficult times.
What the next 500 years holds no one can say for certain, but I am sure the sea will continue to play a vital role in maintaining the way of life we all take for granted. With over 90% of goods entering the UK having spent some or all of their journey to our shores by sea our lives would be very different without our mariners and to them we say thank you.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues throughout Trinity House who work so tirelessly to ensure we provide a world class service on a daily basis. It is also fitting that I pay tribute to those who have gone before us who have raised us to this position which we strive to maintain every day.
I wish you all fair winds and following seas for the remainder of 2014.
Captain Ian McNaught
The Corporation of Trinity House
As the UK’s largest self-funded maritime charity, The Corporation of Trinity House donated approximately £6.5m to charitable causes in the financial year ending in March 2013 – of which over £2m went to supporting the Trinity House Hub at Mariners’ Park Estate.
The safety of shipping and the wellbeing of seafarers have been the prime concerns of the Corporation ever since Trinity House was granted a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1514.
Today Trinity House has three distinct functions:
the General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. The remit is to provide aids to navigation to assist the safe passage of a huge variety of vessels through some of the busiest sea-lanes in the world.
a charitable organisation dedicated to the safety, welfare and training of mariners.
a Deep Sea Pilotage Authority providing expert navigators for ships trading in Northern European waters.
*the message from Captain Ian McNaught Executive Chairman