The history of the many lightvessel stations of Great Britain goes back over 250 years to the placement of the world's first lightship at the Nore in the early 18th century.
A lightvessel station is a named position at which a lightvessel was placed, rather than a particular ship; individual vessels were often transferred between different stations during their existence. Stations themselves were occasionally changed, especially during wartime, when lights were only displayed in response to specific shipping needs.
The world's first lightvessel was the result of a business partnership between Robert Hamblin, a former barber and ship manager from King's Lynn, and David Avery, an investor. In 1730 the pair secured a government licence to moor a ship, with a prominent light affixed to it, to serve as a navigation aid at the Nore in the Thames mouth. Hamblin and Avery intended to profit from the vessel by collecting a fee from passing merchant vessels. The licence was