On This Day in Trinity House History – 8 December

1858

Electric light introduced into South Foreland High Lighthouse

In 1858 South Foreland High Lighthouse became the first in the world to exhibit an electrically-powered light, made possible by Trinity House’s Scientific Advisor Professor Michael Faraday and his colleague Professor Holmes. They believed that electricity could effectively power a lighthouse light and so installed Holmes’ magneto-electric machine.

The experiments were a success technically, but electricity proved too costly as a power source, so Trinity House lighthouses continued to use mineral oils for some decades longer.

The front of South Foreland Lighthouse atop the White Cliffs of Dover near to Dover, Kent, in south-east England

The front of South Foreland Lighthouse atop the White Cliffs of Dover near to Dover, Kent, in south-east England