The Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) is the general lighthouse authority for Scotland and the Isle of Man. It is a non-departmental public body responsible for marine navigation aids around coastal areas.
The NLB was formed by Act of Parliament in 1786 as the Commissioners of Northern Light Houses, largely at the urging of the lawyer and politician George Dempster ("Honest George"), to oversee the construction and operation of four Scottish lighthouses: Kinnaird Head, North Ronaldsay, Scalpay and Mull of Kintyre, for which they were empowered to borrow up to £1,200. Until then, the only major lighthouse in Scotland was the coal brazier mounted on the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth, together with some smaller lights in the Firths of the Tay and Clyde. None of the major passages around Scotland, which led through dangerous narrows, were marked.
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