On This Day in 1998… The Last Lighthouse Keepers

On 26 November 1998, Trinity House’s then Master HRH The Duke of Edinburgh oversaw a ceremony to mark the automation and demanning of North Foreland Lighthouse, the last manned Trinity House lighthouse, completing the ambitious lighthouse automation programme.

Ending four centuries of service, the last six keepers in the Trinity House Lighthouse Service were given a warm farewell by the Master, and the profession passed into folklore and history.

The last keepers were Tristan Sturley, Dermot Cronin, Tony Homewood, Colin Bale, Dave Appleby and Barry Simmons. It should be noted that towards the end of manned lighthouses, ‘double manning’ had been brought in, with two teams of three lighthouse keepers alternating their time at the lighthouse; each team was made up of a Principal Keeper and two Assistant Keepers.

North Foreland Lighthouse Automation [Flash 1998] copyright Trinity House

North Foreland Lighthouse Automation [Flash 1998] copyright Trinity House

North Foreland Lighthouse Automation 1998 copyright Trinity House

North Foreland Lighthouse Automation 1998, with the last six lighthouse keepers, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (then Master) and Rear Admiral Sir Patrick Rowe (then Deputy Master). Copyright Trinity House

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