South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse

Date

26 October 2016

Location

South Foreland, St Margaret’s at Cliffe, Kent
TR 35938 43335; 51.14063°N, 1.37154°E

Information

The Goodwin Sands – a massive sand bank in the English Channel between South Foreland and Ramsgate – have been a hazard to shipping for centuries and there are records of lights on the White Cliffs to warn mariners of the dangers since the 14th century. In 1635 two open-fire braziers were erected at South Foreland and there have been two lighthouses there ever since. In 1793 the Upper Light was converted to use oil lamps and in 1795 the Lower Light was similarly converted. Both lighthouses were purchased by Trinity House in 1832 with alterations being carried out to the Upper Light in 1842 and the Lower Light being totally rebuilt in 1846.

By 1875 South Foreland was equipped with carbon-arc lamps making it the first lighthouse to use electric light. The lighthouse was also later used by Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) as a base for his experiments in radio transmission and it became the first ever site to receive a ship-to-shore radio message and in 1899 it also received the first international radio transmission (from Wimereux, between Calais and Boulogne in France).

By 1904 the Goodwin Sands had shifted by such an extent that the visual alignment of the two lights no longer provided an accurate indication of the location of the sand bank and so the Lower Light was decommissioned. The Upper Light was fully automated in 1969 and it remained in service until 1988 when it too was decommissioned, modern navigational aids having rendered it redundant. The National Trust took over the site in 1989 and opened it to the public in 1990.

Further Reading

South Foreland Lighthouse (National Trust);
South Foreland Lighthouse (Wikipedia)

South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “South Foreland Lighthouse

    • Yes – there was a variety of weather conditions that day. It started off misty with the sun breaking through later on. On the way back from the lighthouse I was pleased the sky turned ominously dark as it provided a nice contrasting backdrop to the still sunlit tower 🙂

  1. Pingback: White Cliffs of Dover, England Coast Path | GeoTopoi

  2. Pingback: 2016 Retrospective | GeoTopoi

Share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s