In 1776 Trinity House agreed to allow Captain John Blackett to build at his own expense two lighthouses off the Northumberland coast, one at Farne Island and the other on Staples Island, not far from where in 1838 Grace Darling and her father rowed out to save nine survivors from the SS Forfarshire. (In October of that year James Blackett of North Sunderland, Northumberland received from Trinity House £10 each for Grace Darling and her father.) The erection of the lighthouses followed an earlier request by Captain Blackett to build a lighthouse on the Outer Staple Islands in 1755, which was turned down by Trinity House. The Staples Island light was blown down in 1784 and rebuilt, but by 1809 both towers were decaying. In 1825 the Blackett family sold the lease of the Farne Island site to Trinity House for £36,484. This is the family from whom the Stock Exchange Blacketts were descended.
John Blackett, the son of a Newcastle coal agent, emigrated to New Zealand and became Engineer-in-Chief for New Zealand. He was responsible for the building of 14 lighthouses around the New Zealand coast. His daughter, Isabel Mary Houston, established the John Blackett Prize for outstanding engineering students. It is still awarded to this day.