The Nore is a sandbank at the mouth of the Thames Estuary, England. It marks the point where the River Thames meets the North Sea, roughly halfway between Havengore Creek in Essex and Warden Point in Kent.
Until 1964 it marked the seaward limit of the Port of London Authority. As the sandbank was a major hazard for shipping coming in and out of London, in 1732 it received the world's first lightship. This became a major landmark, and was used as an assembly point for shipping. Today it is marked by Sea Reach No. 1 Buoy.
The Nore is a hazard to shipping, so in 1732 the world's first lightship was moored over it in an experiment by Robert Hamblin, who patented the idea. The experiment must have proved successful, because by 1819 England had nine lightships. The Nore lightship was run by Trinity House, General Lighthouse Authority for England (and Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar).
The early Nore lightships were small wooden vessels, often Dutch-built galliots. By the end of the 19th century a larger ship with a revolving light had appeared, but after about 1915 the authorities ceased to use a lightship. Sea Reach No. 1 Buoy as of 2006 marks the anchorage-point of the former lightship, about mid-way between Shoeburyness in Essex and the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. This defines the limit of the Thames and the beginning of the North Sea.
From 1899 to 1955, the Royal Navy maintained a Commander-in-Chief, The Nore, a senior officer responsible for protecting the entrance to the port of London, and merchant traffic along the east coast of Britain.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.