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Lizard Point - Lizard, Cornwall

Lighthouse category:  landfall/coastal

Position:  49° 57' 36.0"N : 5° 12' 9.2"W

Status: active

Date:  1752

Designer:  name of designer

Tower height:  62 feet

Construction: octagonal stone tower with lantern and gallery

Colour scheme: white

Focal plane height:  230 feet

Characteristics: white flash every 3 seconds

Foghorn:  one blast every 30 seconds

Google map view:  google map link

The lighthouse at Lizard Point in Cornwall is one of the most significant and important lights in England.  It is both a landfall light and a coastal navigation light providing guidance to ships navigating the English Channel and also giving warning of the dangerous rocks and reefs lying offshore close to Lizard Point.  Lizard Point is the most southerly point of mainland Britain and, although the Bishop Rock has come to be regarded as the main landfall light for vessels at the end of an eastbound transatlantic crossing,  this light was traditionally the landfall light for most vessels approaching from the south.  Both towers were originally lit by coal burning braziers that were enclosed in wooden lanterns - although the lanterns led to some loss of illumination, the fact that the fires were enclosed significantly reduced fuel consumption.  The coal braziers were replaced by oil fueled lights in 1812 and the station was fully electrified in 1878, making it one of the earliest electrically powered stations in Britain.   The present light has an intensity of 800,000 candelas and is visible for 26 nautical miles.

A station was first established here as early as 1619.  The present buildings are the work of Thomas Fonnereau and date from 1752.  The station consists of two towers linked by keeper's accommodation and other ancillary buildings.  Originally both towers carried lights but only the east tower now retains its lantern, the west tower having been inactive since 1903 when its lantern was removed.  The station was fully automated in 1998.  The entire site is publicly accessible and contains a visitor centre, gift shop, and cafe and guided tours of the light and other buildings are available.  The visitors' centre is run by Trinity House and more information, including opening times and admission charges, can be found on their site here

I visited this site in 2001 and took advantage of the general accessibility and the guided tour to take some additional photographs which are shown below.

This photograph shows the view from the east tower looking almost due west along the coast and clearly showing the inactive west tower (sans lantern) at the end of the row buildings in the foreground.

This photo shows the spiral staircase inside the east tower that tives access to the lantern.

The photograph below is a close-up shot of the fresnel lenses in the lantern on the east tower.  And if you look really really closely near the bottom you can just about see me as well.

This is the original foghorn stations with the foghorns themselves clearly visible on the roof.   This foghorn was the last in Britain to be powered by compressed air and has now been replaced by an electrically powered diaphonic for signal.

And this is the original mechanism that provided the compressed air that powered the foghorns.

The final shot shows the engine room, from where the generator provided the power for the entire station.   This is the only large engine room from this period remaining in Britain.  The engine in the right of shot is, I think, a 4LW Gardner - but I'm no expert on stationary diesels!

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