The new design of the site coincides with the publication of my book, Lighthouses: The race to illuminate the world
, co-authored by Peter Williams and published by New Holland in October 2008. This book was three years in the making and we hope it will appeal to a broad readership, beyond just lighthouse enthusiasts. You can find out more about it in the Lighthouse Book section.
The section on the Chance Family was originally written for the epilogue of the book but I removed it when it began to deviate from the main theme of lighthouses. I have always been fascinated by the Chance family history. Parts of it have been written up over the years, on both sides of the Atlantic, but a full account is yet to appear.
The most comprehensive came from the pen of my great great uncle, James Frederick Chance, who wrote the history of the firm of Chance Brothers and an account of the lighthouse work of his father, Sir James Chance, Bt. My grandfather, Sir Hugh Chance, wrote a somewhat tedious update to the firm’s history, from 1919 to the 1970s,
but Pilkington’s (who acquired Chance Brothers in 1945) declined to publish it and he died before a publisher could be found. The transfer of the business archives from St Helens to Smethwick is perhaps the catalyst for a serious historian to write a comprehensive history.