On This Day in Trinity House History – 01 July

1874

Hartland Point Lighthouse is Lit for the First Time

Trinity House bought 7 acres and 1 rood of land from Squire Haynes of Hartland, who owned the land around Blagden Farm, for £500 in 1870, and on the day the foundations for the lighthouse were laid, it is said that Squire Haynes placed a gold sovereign, a copy of the Daily Mail and a note stating that he had sold the land under them.

On 1 July, 1874, in the presence of a distinguished company including the Deputy Master and three Elder Brethren, the lighthouse was brought into service. A Mrs. Studey of Hartland Abbey lit the oil lamp, which had a characteristic of a red white flash every 30 seconds, and the Bishop of Exeter put the fog signal into operation.

Initially, it looked as if the future for the lighthouse would be short, because the lighthouse is sited on the extremity of the point and to the side there was a vein of loose rock which was being continuously undermined by the sea. It was decided that the solution to this problem, which was beginning to threaten the lighthouse itself, was to break away some of the rock from the upper cliff behind the lighthouse. This was done and the tons of boulders which fell to the beach formed an effective but only temporary barrier to the sea. Unfortunately, this procedure had to be repeated about every 12-18 months because the sea could not be halted from its natural process of erosion. In 1925, it was decided to solve this problem permanently, and a 130 feet long sea wall was built.

Prior to automation in 1984 the station was manned by 4 keepers, who lived in dwellings attached to the lighthouse with their families. The dwellings were demolished when the station was demanned in order to allow for the construction of a helipad next to the tower.

Today the lighthouse is monitored from the Trinity House Planning Centre at Harwich in Essex. In 2012 the light was first exhibited from an alternative structure with the lighthouse building remaining a significant daymark.

More information at the Trinity House website.

Hartland Point Lighthouse

Hartland Point Lighthouse

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