Whitby Lighthouse

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Whitby Lighthouse
Whitby High
South Whitby Lighthouse - geograph.org.uk - 1318876.jpg
Whitby Lighthouse
Whitby Lighthouse is located in North Yorkshire
Whitby Lighthouse
North Yorkshire
Coordinates54°28′40.1″N 0°34′05.5″W / 54.477806°N 0.568194°W / 54.477806; -0.568194Coordinates: 54°28′40.1″N 0°34′05.5″W / 54.477806°N 0.568194°W / 54.477806; -0.568194
Year first constructed1858
Constructionbrick tower
Tower shapeoctagonal tower with balcony and lantern
Markings / patternwhite tower and lantern
Tower height13 m (43 ft)
Focal height73 m (240 ft)
Original lens1st order catadioptric fixed
Current lens2nd order six panel catadioptric fixed
Intensitywhite: 107,000 candela
red: 17,100 candela
Rangewhite: 18 nmi (33 km)
red: 16 nmi (30 km)
CharacteristicIso WR 10s.
Admiralty numberA2596
NGA number1992
ARLHS numberENG 164
Managing agentTrinity House[1] [2]
HeritageGrade II listed building Edit this on Wikidata

Whitby Lighthouse is a lighthouse operated by Trinity House. It is on Ling Hill, on the coast to the south-east of Whitby, beyond Saltwick Bay. To distinguish it from the two lighthouses in Whitby itself (which protect the town's harbour) it is sometimes known as Whitby High lighthouse (and is referred to as such on Admiralty charts)[3]


The lighthouse, a white octagonal brick tower, was designed by James Walker[4] of civil engineers Messrs. Walker, Burgess & Cooper.[5] Foundations were laid on 12 April 1857[5] with construction carried out by local builder William Falkingbridge[4] of Well Close Square, Whitby.[5] Supervising the construction Henry Norris[4][5] of James Walker's firm was engaged as Superintendent of the Works on behalf of Trinity House. The light was first lit on 1 October 1858[4] with costs of construction having run to about £8,000.[5]

Originally, it was one of a pair of towers aligned north-south and known as the twin lights of Whitby South[4] (the present lighthouse) and Whitby North (since demolished);[6] together they were sometimes referred to as the High Whitby lights.[7] The North Light was of a similar octagonal design to the surviving South Light, but taller at 20.5 m (67 ft) (so that, although the North tower was on lower ground, the two lights were on the same focal plane).[6][4] Their purpose was to show a fixed pair of lights which, when in transit, lined up with Whitby Rock (an offshore hazard to shipping).[8] Each was equipped with a paraffin lamp and a large (first-order) fixed optic designed by Chance Brothers.[8] A pair of single-storey keepers' cottages was attached to each tower.[9]

Whitby Fog Signal

In 1890, a more efficient light was installed in the South Light, allowing the North Light to be deactivated: an occulting mechanism was installed and a red sector was added marking Whitby Rock.[10] The former Low Lightouse was then demolished but the site was retained for a building to house new fog signalling apparatus,[11] including a compressed air plant powered by two Hornsby horizontal 25-horsepower oil engines.[3] Following trials of different types of signal (conducted at St. Catherine's Lighthouse in 1901) Trinity House took the decision to use sirens at Whitby, sounded through a pair of 'Rayleigh trumpets' (named after the scientific adviser at the trials).[12] Over the next decade or more Trinity House went on to install similar equipment in several other lighthouse locations. Whitby Fog Signal (known locally as the 'Hawsker Bull') was operational from 1903 and continued in use until 1987, the equipment having been updated in 1955. The building, which retains the twin roof-mounted 20-ft trumpets, is now a private dwelling, part of which is also used as holiday accommodation.[13]

Whitby High lighthouse was electrified in 1976 and automated in 1992; the former lighthouse keepers' cottages are now available to hire by holidaymakers.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitby High The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 7 May 2016
  2. ^ Whitby Lighthouse Trinity House. Retrieved 7 May 2016
  3. ^ a b Jones, Robin (2014). Lighthouses of the North East Coast. Wellington, Somerset: Halsgrove. pp. 103–105.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Lighthouse management,". p. 68.
  5. ^ a b c d e "The New Lighthouses". The Whitby Gazette. 22 May 1858. p. 4.
  6. ^ a b "Lighthouse management : the report of the Royal Commissioners on Lights, Buoys, and Beacons, 1861, examined and refuted Vol. 2". p. 67.
  7. ^ "High Whitby (architect's drawing, 1855)". Trinity House. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  8. ^ a b Chance, James Frederick (1902). The Lighthouse Work of Sir James Chance, Baronet (PDF). London: Smith, Elder & co. p. 166. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  9. ^ Elliot, George H. (1875). European Light-House Systems. London: Lockwood & co. pp. 118–120. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Contemporary illustration". Trinity House. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  11. ^ "A Blast from the Past". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  12. ^ Renton, Alan (2001). Lost Sounds: The Story of Coast Fog Signals. Caithness, Scotland: Whittles.
  13. ^ "Rural Retreats".
  14. ^ "Whitby Lighthouse". Trinity House.

External links[edit]