are a few references concerning the Lighthouses of the Isle of Wight and the people
that worked there, which have been extracted from the records at the Isle
of Wight County Record Office.
Lightkeepers (census, bapts
etc) Lighthouse Snippets (items
The original Needles lighthouse at Alum Bay was built on the headland in 1786,
it being 462 feet above sea level. It remained there shining its warning
to seafarers until 1859, however, there were still many wrecks along this coast,
owing to the mist that often shrouded the light. It was decided to replace it
with a lighthouse built on the the furthest needles rock from the shore.
The first lighthouse was demolished in 1985.
The second lighthouse was built from Portland granite in 1859 and was only accessible
from the sea, provisions being shipped in by boat. The light was visible
for 14 miles and in fog the horn sounded every 15 seconds. A helicopter
pad was added in the early 1990's. Eventually the light became automated
and the last two man crew left on 8th December 1994.
The lighthouse at St Catherine's Niton shows an electric light of more than 6,000,000
candles, built 1838-40, a landbased building manned by a principle engineer and
two light keepers. Its original height of 142 feet was lowered to 86
feet in 1875, because the light was so often shrouded by fog. Note the buildings
and cottages closeby, some of which were used by the light keepers families.