Saturday, 23 January 2010

Beachy Head Lighthouse

Trinity House intends to switch off the Beachy Head lighthouse because modern navigation equipment has made lighthouses less important for negotiating the coast.

The lighthouse is the second lighthouse in the area and was brought into service in 1902 when the original Belle Toute lighthouse was decommissioned because of cliff erosion.

The Beachy Head lighthouse was staffed by three lighthouse keepers until 1983 when it became fully automated. The iconic red-and-white striped tower is 43 metres high and situated 165 metres from the base of the cliffs.

The new lighthouse was built under the direction of Sir Thomas Matthews, the Trinity House Engineer-in-Chief and took two years to complete. The lighthouse was constructed from 3,660 tons of Cornish granite.

The original Belle Toute lighthouse still remains although not in its original position. In 1999 due to continuing erosion threatening the future of the building the lighthouse was lifted up on runners and dragged 17 metres inland to safer ground.