Europa Point Lighthouse
|Europa Point Lighthouse at Gibraltar|
|Location||Europa Point, Gibraltar|
|Year first constructed||1841|
|Year first lit||1841|
|Markings / pattern||Red horizontal band|
|Height||20 metres (66 ft)|
|Focal height||49 metres (161 ft)|
|Current lens||2nd Order Catadioptric
700 mm Focal Length
|Characteristic||Oc W 10s
Oc R 10s
|Fog signal||HORN: 1 blast ev 20s|
The Europa Point Lighthouse, also referred to as the Trinity Lighthouse at Europa Point and the Victoria Tower, is one of several lighthouses in Gibraltar. It has a strategic location: at Europa Point, in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula, at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. The cylindrical tower is painted white, with a wide red horizontal band in the middle. Built in 1841, the active lighthouse at the southern tip of the Rock of Gibraltar was fully automated by 1994, and is operated by Trinity House.
Also known as the Trinity Lighthouse at Europa Point and the Victoria Tower, the Europa Point Lighthouse (pictured), of classic British design, first underwent construction in 1838. Sir Alexander George Woodford (1782–1870), Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Gibraltar, set the first stone for the lighthouse's foundation on 26 April 1838, with the aid of the Masonic Order of Gibraltar. The inscription read:
This foundation-stone of a light-house, erected by order of the colonial government of her Majesty Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland and their dependencies, in the first year of her reign, was laid on the 26th day of April, A.D. 1838, A.L. 5838, with military and masonic honours, by his Excellency Major-General Sir Alexander Woodford, K.C.B. &c. governor and commander-in-chief of the town and garrison of Gibraltar, assisted by the Rev. W. E. T. Burrow, D.D. F.R.S. Provincial Grand Master, for the protection of Mediterranen commerce, the saving of human life, and the honour of the British name.
A brief ceremony commemorated the event, which was witnessed by about 10,000 people. Construction of the lighthouse was completed in 1841, and it opened on 1 August of that year. The first lighting of the Europa Point Lighthouse drew an audience of more than 2,000 people. The lighthouse is 49 metres above the high water mark, and has a strategic location. It is at the southern tip of the Rock of Gibraltar, Europa Point (also referred to as Great Europa Point), between the Atlantic and Mediterranean. The Mediterranean is to the east, the Bay of Gibraltar (depicted on map) to the northwest, and the Strait of Gibraltar to the southwest.
Prior to the opening of the lighthouse, sailors were dependent on the light emitted by the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe to navigate the Bay of Gibraltar. They expressed their gratitude by leaving supplies of oil at the chapel, which also encouraged the continued burning of the lights. Originally a mosque, the Roman Catholic shrine was built after the victory of King Ferdinand IV of Spain over the Moors at the 1309 siege
At the time of the opening of the lighthouse in 1841, a fixed light was emitted by an oil lamp with one wick. The intensity of the light was increased by a combination of a dioptric fixed lens and catoptric mirrors. The first upgrade of the lighthouse occurred in 1864, when the single-wick lamp was replaced with a Chance Brothers four-wick burner, as well as a new lens. The improvements included a red arc of light over the hazardous Pearl Rock region. An additional upgrade was made in 1875 when the lamp was switched out for a four wick mineral oil burner.
In 1894, the lighthouse was further altered to increase the amount of light emitted. The four-wick burner and mirrors were exchanged for a Douglass burner with eight wicks and an improved lantern; the power of the light was increased to 35,000 candela. The characteristic of the light changed from fixed to occulting. A foghorn was also installed, with two quick blasts every five minutes. The eight-wick burner was exchanged for a three incandescent mantle burner in 1905. In 1923, the burner was replaced by a Hood petroleum vapour burner with one mantle.
Later, between 1954 and 1956, more extensive changes were made, with the lighting modernised. Electric lighting further improved visibility. A much more powerful, revolving lens system was utilised for the primary optic, and a second light below the main light was included to cast a fixed red light to cover the Pearl Rock region. (This was supplemental to the red sector of the main light that already indicated the dangerous area.) The height of the tower was increased by six feet.
By February 1994, the lighthouse was fully automated. The extant optics were kept, but complemented with a three position lampchanger. The foghorn was changed to an electric model, with a directional 500 Hz emitter stack that was installed on the gallery of the lantern room. The active lighthouse has a 19 metres (62 ft) masonry tower with lantern and gallery. The tower is painted white, with a single wide red horizontal band in the middle. The lighthouse has a white light which occults every ten seconds. There is a continuous red light as well as an occulting red light which is on for 5.8 seconds and off for 4.2 seconds. In addition, a foghorn emits a blast every twenty seconds.
The lighthouse is operated by Trinity House, a lighthouse agency based in England. Accordingly, it is also referred to as the Trinity Lighthouse. It is the only one operated by the agency outside the United Kingdom. Trinity House became responsible for Europa Point Lighthouse at the time of an 1838 Act of Parliament. In addition, the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894 resulted in Trinity House becoming the General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) for Gibraltar. Trinity House is also the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales, and the Channel Islands. In 1514, it was granted a Royal charter by King Henry VIII. The site of the lighthouse is managed by the Government of Gibraltar. Monitoring of the lighthouse is through a reporting station connected by telephone to the Gibraltar Port Office. The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office Admiralty Digital Lists of Lights (ADLL) number for the Europa Point Lighthouse is D2438. The United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) number is 4220.
Soon after World War II, amateur radio, also called ham radio, made its appearance in Gibraltar. The Gibraltar Amateur Radio Society, with its headquarters on Coaling Island, operates from the lighthouse once annually, during the third weekend of August. The annual International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend has as its goal in Gibraltar of putting the Europa Point Lighthouse on the air, using the call sign, ZB2LGT. The Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society (ARLHS) number for the lighthouse is GIB-001.
- John Purdy (1840). "The Pharonology". The new sailing directory for the Strait of Gibraltar and the western division of the Mediterranean Sea. R.H. Laurie. p. i. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- "Europa Point". gibraltar.gi. Official Gibraltar Website. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- "Lighthouses of Gibraltar". unc.edu. Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- "Woodford, Alexander George (DNB00)". en.wikisource.org. Dictionary of National Biography, 1885–1900, Volume 62 (as reprinted on Wikisource). Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- "Lighthouse At Europa Point". gibraltar.com. Gibraltar Travel Guide. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- "Historical Gibraltar Attractions". gibraltarinformation.com. Gibraltarinformation.com. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- "Europa Point". trinityhouse.co.uk. Trinity House. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- "Origin of the title ‘Our Lady of Europe’". ourladyofeurope.net. Catholic Diocese of Gibraltar. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- Alice Mascarenhas (5 May 2009). "The Shrine of Our Lady of Europe is a Centre of Spirituality". Gibraltar Chronicle. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- Admiralty hydrogr. dept (1885). Sailing directions. Pilot for the west coasts of France, Spain, and Portugal. (3 ed.). p. 318. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- "About Trinity House". trinityhouse.co.uk. Trinity House. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- "Gibraltar Amateur Radio Society". gibradio.net. Gibraltar Amateur Radio Society. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- "Calling the world from the lighthouse". panorama.gi. Gibraltar News from Panorama. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Europa Point Lighthouse|
Read in another language
This page is available in 1 language