It was one of four lighthouses built in Shetland between 1854 and 1858 which were designed by brothers David Stevenson and Thomas Stevenson. David Stevenson initially maintained that building a lighthouse in Shetland waters was impossible, too dangerous and too expensive, and that any ship's captain who took this route was mad.
The shore station was purchased by the Shetland Amenity Trust in 1995 and has been converted into a Marine Heritage Centre. The fog signal was discontinued in the 1980s. The notable red horn was removed, however, the building that housed the siren is still in place and now houses a radar mast, and the five pressurised air tanks are still in place.