New Brighton Lighthouse
By kjfitz @ 2006-02-11 20:23:05
The Lighthouse at New Brighton is also known as the Perch Rock Lighthouse, and is situated where the Mersey Estuary opens out into Liverpool Bay. Before the lighthouse was built there was a wooden ’perch’ erected upon the rock, formerly known as the Black Rock, by the city of Liverpool in 1683. The rock was a serious hazard to navigation because of its close proximity to the North Channel which was once the main channel used by shipping on the approach to the Port of Liverpool. Ships that passed the perch were charged 6d for maintenance costs, which were high in this case, the perch often being washed away by gales. In 1821 one of the Liverpool Pilot Boats crashed into the perch.
Building was started on the lighthouse in 1827 and it took 3 years to complete. The first stone was laid by Thomas Littledale, the Mayor of Liverpool, on the 8th June 1927. The lighthouse was built by Tomkinson and Company, to a similar design as the famous Eddystone Lighthouse of Plymouth, using granite quarried on the Island of Anglesey. Each stone was carved to interlock with its neighbor, and the whole lot was cemented together using ’Puzzellani’ a substance derived from volcanic ash from Mount Etna in Sicily.
The tower rises 90 feet above the rock, the first half of which is solid. To gain access when the tide is out one needs a ladder to reach up to the first of the 15 iron rungs built in to the side of the tower, these then lead up to the door. A spiral staircase leads to the keepers accommodation consisting of a galley/kitchen, a bathroom, a living room and a bedroom and then up to the lamp room. The lamp was of the revolving kind and first shone on the 1st March 1830. The lighthouse was later connected up to the mains electricity. The lamp last shone on the 1st October 1973, a victim of modern navigation technology. The lighthouse was bought by Mr. Norman Kingham for a nominal sum, on the condition he maintained the building. It was used for a time as a honeymoon suite!
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