Lighthouses of Barbados

The independent nation of Barbados is located in the Atlantic to the east of the other islands of the Lesser Antilles, about 160 km (100 miles) east of St. Vincent. The island has a population of about 275,000 and a strong British heritage, having been a British colony from 1627 until it became independent in 1966.

Barbados has four historic lighthouses. Three are listed as active, although there are reports that they are not always in service. All four are endangered by neglect and are much in need of restoration. The active lights are operated by Barbados Port, Inc., but presumably the buildings are owned by the Government of Barbados. The Barbados National Trust has not been involved, so far, in lighthouse preservation.

Thanks to Sharon Arrindell for providing photos and information on these lighthouses.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from Volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 110.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Barbados
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Leuchttürme auf den Kleinen Antillen
Photos posted by Bernd Claußen.
Lighthouses in Barbados
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Barbados
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Leuchttürme von Barbados
Photos by a German visitor.
Barbados Photo Gallery - Other Structures
Stephen Mendes has photos of the three active lighthouses taken in 1998.
Lighthouses in the Caribbean
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Barbados Lighthouses
Historic images posted by Michel Forand.
Leuchttürme Mittelamerikas und der Karabik auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.

South Point Light
South Point Light, November 2004
Flickr Creative Commons photo by gemteck1

Lighthouses
* Ragged Point (East Point)
1875. Reactivated (inactive 2007(?)-2011); focal plane 65 m (213 ft); continuous red light. 29.5 m (97 ft) stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern and watch room black. The keeper's house and other light station buildings are abandoned and in ruins. Bas Leenders's 2009 photo is at right, Mendes has a 1996 photo, Carlos Granier-Phelps has a good August 2006 photo, Trabas has a photo by Rainer Arndt, Lightphotos.net has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Endangered; many photos show shattered glass in the lantern and the poor condition of the tower. The Admiralty reported the light to be "temporarily extinguished" in 2007; in May 2011 it announced that a continuous red warning light has been activated on the tower. Located on a bluff above the Atlantic about 2 km (1.2 mi) northwest of East Point, the easternmost point of the island. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BAR-003; Admiralty J5804; NGA 15096.
* South Point
1852 (Alexander Gordon). Active; focal plane 44 m (145 ft); three white flashes every 30 s. 27 m (89 ft) cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. 1-story keeper's house, abandoned. The lighthouse was exhibited at London’s Great Exhibition in 1851, then reassembled on the island. Mendes's 1998 photo showed the lighthouse to be rusted and much in need of restoration. The lighthouse was refurbished and painted in 2004, and the photo at right shows the tower with its new paint job. A photo is at the top of this page, a 2007 photo is available, Dave Grella has a 2010 photo, Marinas.com has recent aerial photos, Forand has an 1851 engraving made before the lighthouse was shipped to Barbados, he also has a 1911 postcard view, Huelse has a different postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. Located near the southernmost point of the island. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BAR-004; Admiralty J5806; NGA 15100.
* Needhams Point (2)
1886 (station established 1855). Inactive. 13 m (43 ft) octagonal masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white, lantern and gallery black. The active light is on a 9 m (30 ft) steel mast (focal plane 13 m (43 ft); flash every 8 s; white shown to south and west, red to north and east). Recently Hilton Hotels built a large new hotel next to this tower; Hilton now owns the lighthouse and has restored and painted its exterior. A 2007 photo and a 2009 photo are available, and Forand has a historic postcard view, but clouds block Google's satellite view. The London Gazette had a notice for the then-new lighthouse in 1886. Claußen also has photos of the modern light (red flash every 8 s) on a 30 m (98 ft) mast painted in red and white bands. Located at the south end of Carlisle Bay, southwest of Bridgetown. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS BAR-002; Admiralty J5807; NGA 15108.
* Bridgetown Entrance Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unlisted; green light, 3 s on, 1.5 s off. Approx. 17 m (56 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted black. The top of the tower carries a rectangular daymark, painted red with a yellow vertical stripe. Trabas has a photo by Arno Siering, and Google has a satellite view. The front light is mounted atop a daymark panel at the end of the harbor breakwater. Located on the waterfront of Bridgetown's modern harbor. Admiralty J5812.56; NGA 15122.1.
Harrison Point
1925. Reactivated (inactive 2007(?)-2011); focal plane 59 m (194 ft); continuous red light. 26 m (85 ft) concrete block tower with lantern and gallery, originally painted white; lantern red. Keeper's quarters and other light station buildings abandoned and in ruins. A photo is at right, Lightphotos.net has a photo, Mendes has a closeup 1997 photo, Dan Cravotta has a 2008 photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse is gravely endangered. There was a period around 2006 when the lighthouse was on the grounds of a prison and not accessible to the public, but this is no longer the case. The Admiralty reported the light to be "temporarily extinguished" in 2007. Jon Van Hout visited the lighthouse early in 2011 and found it abandoned, stripped of its wiring, and open to all comers. In May 2011, the Admiralty announced that a continuous red warning light has been activated on the tower. Located at the northwesternmost point of the island, about 8 km (5 mi) north of Speightstown. Site and tower open. ARLHS BAR-001; Admiralty J5814; NGA 15128.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Ragged Point Light
Ragged Point Light, January 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Bas Leenders

Harrison Point Light
Harrison Point Light, February 2008
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Postdlf

Adjoining page: West: St. Vincent and the Grenadines

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Posted April 5, 2005; checked and revised December 18, 2014. Lighthouses: 5. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.