St Bees Lighthouse
|Year first constructed||1718|
|Year first lit||1822|
|Height||17 m (56 ft)|
|Focal height||102 m (335 ft)|
|Current lens||1st Order 920 mm catadioptric|
|Light source||1500 Watt|
|Range||18 nmi (33 km; 21 mi)|
|Characteristic||Fl(2) W 20s|
The first lighthouse on the site began its life in 1718 on land brought by Trinity House, one of the UK's General Lighthouse Authorities. It was constructed by Thomas Lutwige who paid a lease of £20 per year for the site. It stood 9 metres tall and was 5 metres in diameter. To make money Lutwidge levied charges of 3½ pence per tonne of cargo carried by vessels to nearby ports. It was burnt down in 1822, perhaps because by that year it was the last coal powered lighthouse in the UK.
In its place an oil fired house was built by Joseph Nelson at a cost of £2,322 and is still in use today. The tower is 17 metres high and stands an average of 102 metres above sea level. In the interwar period the lighthouse was used as a turning marker in the London to Isle of Man air races. During World War II the local Home Guard used it to practise defence/attack strategies although there is no record of ammunition being fired at it. By 1987 it was fully electrified and automated, giving a beam of 134,000 candela which can be seen 21 nmi (39 km) away.
The fog signal was discontinued in 1987, and the detached building which housed the fog signal equipment now stands very close to the edge of the cliff. It used to sound two blasts every 45 seconds.
- In depth look at the lighthouse on the Trinity House website
- Details from a St Bees website
- Details from the BBC's "People's War" website
- Jackson, Derrick (1975). Lighthouses of England and Wales.