LIGHTHOUSES

These 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 of news)

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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.
 

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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.



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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. 





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