New Brighton Lighthouse

New Brighton Lighthouse (also known as Perch Rock Lighthouse and called Black Rock Lighthouse in the 19th century) is a decommissioned lighthouse situated at the confluence of the River Mersey and Liverpool Bay on an outcrop off New Brighton known locally as Perch Rock. Together with its neighbour, the Napoleonic era Fort Perch Rock, it is one of the Wirral's best known landmarks.[3]

New Brighton Lighthouse
Perch Rock
New Brighton Lighthouse 1243656.jpg
New Brighton Lighthouse and Perch Rock
LocationLiverpool Bay
New Brighton, Merseyside
England
OS gridSJ3086794677
Coordinates53°26′40″N 3°02′32″W / 53.444334°N 3.042309°W / 53.444334; -3.042309Coordinates: 53°26′40″N 3°02′32″W / 53.444334°N 3.042309°W / 53.444334; -3.042309
Tower
Constructed1683 (first)
Constructiongranite tower
Height28.5 metres (94 ft)
Shapetapered cylindrical tower with balcony and lantern
Markingswhite tower, red lantern
OperatorPrivate owner[1][2]
HeritageGrade II* listed building Edit this on Wikidata
Light
First lit1830 (current)
Deactivated1973–2016
Focal height23 m (75 ft) Edit this on Wikidata
CharacteristicFl W(2) R(1)

HistoryEdit

 
New Brighton Lighthouse

The name comes from a Perch; a timber tripod supporting a lantern first erected in 1683 as a crude beacon to allow shipping to pass the rock safely. As the Port of Liverpool developed in the Nineteenth Century the perch was deemed inadequate as it required constant maintenance and only produced a limited light. Construction of the present tower began in 1827 by Tomkinson & Company using blocks of interlocking Anglesey granite using dovetail joints and marble dowels. It was designed to use many of the same construction techniques used in the building of John Smeaton's Eddystone Lighthouse 70 years earlier.[4] Modelled on the trunk of an oak tree, it is a free standing white painted tower with a red iron lantern. It is 29 m (95 ft) tall. It was first lit in 1830 and displayed two white flashes followed by a red flash every minute; the light-source was thirty Argand lamps, mounted on a three-sided revolving array (ten lamps on each side, with red glass mounted in front of one side).[5] There were also three bells mounted under the gallery to serve as a fog signal; they were tolled by the same clockwork mechanism that caused the lamps to revolve.[6]

The lighthouse was in continuous use until decommissioned in October 1973 having been superseded by modern navigational technology. Although the lighting apparatus and fog bell have been removed, the lighthouse is very well preserved and retains many features lost on other disused lighthouses.[7] It was restored and repainted in 2001 when an LED lightsource was installed which flashed the names of those lost at sea; including all the 1,517 victims of the sinking of the Titanic.[8] At low tide, it is possible to walk to the base of the tower, but a 25-foot ladder is needed to reach the doorway. The lighthouse is privately owned and maintained by the Kingham family, and is a Grade II* listed building.[9][10]

Another plan to illuminate the lantern using LEDs and solar panels was achieved with a grant from the Coastal Revival and New Brighton Coastal Community Team (NBCCT) and has been operating (albeit only to be seen from land) since 2015. The new light replicates the old characteristic of two white flashes followed by a red flash.[11]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Northwest England". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  2. ^ Perch Rock Lighthouse Lighthouse Explorer. Retrieved 25 April 2016
  3. ^ "New Brighton Lighthouse". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  4. ^ "New Brighton Lighthouse". Merseyside.net. Archived from the original on 16 August 2007. Retrieved 30 June 2007.
  5. ^ Purdy, John (1845). Memoir, Descriptive and Explanatory: To Accompany the Charts of the Northern Atlantic Ocean. London: R. H. Laurie. p. 8.
  6. ^ "Lighthouse management : the report of the Royal Commissioners on Lights, Buoys, and Beacons, 1861, examined and refuted Vol. 2". p. 326.
  7. ^ "New Brighton Lighthouse". Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 17 August 2007.
  8. ^ "New Brighton Lighthouse". Lighthouse Digest. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  9. ^ "New Brighton Lighthouse". Merseyside.net. Archived from the original on 16 August 2007. Retrieved 30 June 2007.
  10. ^ Historic England. "Perch Rock Lighthouse (Grade II*) (1258288)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  11. ^ "New Brighton lighthouse will shine again for the first time since 1973". Wirral Weather. Retrieved 22 February 2019.

External linksEdit