Lighthouses of Southeastern England

This page covers lighthouses of the southeastern England, including the counties of Essex and Kent, the Thames estuary, and London. The south coast of Kent faces the Strait of Dover; the rest of this region faces eastward on the North Sea. London is by far the largest port, but there are many smaller ports.

The British system of lighthouse administration is decentralized, with the major towers under the management of Trinity House (a corporation chartered by the Crown) and smaller towers generally under the control of local port authorities. This system has generally assisted lighthouse preservation, and so has the British custom of building very sturdy brick or stone lighthouses at most of the stations. Most of the onshore lighthouses are accessible to visitors, and several of them are major tourist attractions.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from Volume A of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 114.

General Sources
Trinity House
Chartered by Henry VIII in 1514, Trinity House has built and operated lighthouses in Britain for nearly 500 years. About a dozen of the lighthouses have Visitor Centres.
Online List of Lights - England
Photos posted by Alexander Trabas.
Lighthouse Compendium
There is lots of useful information on this site by Michael Millichamp, including his Guide to English and Welsh Lights, an inventory of surviving English and Welsh lighthouses.
Photographers Resource - Lighthouses
Photos and articles on lighthouses of the British Isles.
Lighthouses in England
Photos available from Wikimedia; many of these photos were first posted on Geograph.org.uk.
Lighthouses in England, United Kingdom
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Leuchttürme.net - Kent, Sussex Counties
Photos posted by Malte Werning.
London River Lights
Another Michael Millichamp page, including photos and accounts of light towers along the Thames estuary below London.
Britische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
Information about English Lightvessels
Lightship information and photos posted by Iris Klempau.
Association of Lighthouse Keepers
Founded by serving and retired keepers, this lighthouse association is open to everyone.

New Dungeness Light
New Dungeness Light, Lydd, July 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by howzey

Essex Lighthouses

Tendring District (Harwich Area) Lighthouses
Note: Harwich is the terminal for North Sea ferries to the Netherlands and Denmark, and traditionally it has been the support base for Trinity House lightship operations in the North Sea.
Trinity House Lightship Sunk Centre
Date unknown (lightship station established 1802). Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); two white flashes, separated by 5 s, every 20 s. Steel lightship; the light is displayed from a square skeletal tower amidships. Vessel painted red. A 2013 photo and an October 2008 photo is available. This lightship is part of the traffic separation scheme for vessels approaching or leaving the Thames. Located in the North Sea about 30 km (19 mi) east southeast of Harwich. Accessible only by boat. Site open, vessel closed. ARLHS ENG 231; Admiralty A2170; NGA 1420
** Trinity House Lightship 18 St. Gowan
1958 (Philip & Son, Dartmouth). Decommissioned 1995. 40.5 m (133 ft) steel lightship; the light is displayed from a large lantern on a cylindrical mast amidships. Vessel painted red with yellow trim. There's a web site for the ship, Seimen Burum has a 2013 photo, an April 2009 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. After being withdrawn from service, the ship was first sold to a company planning a marina development in Harwich. After this development failed to materialize, it was sold again and served from 1999 to 2007 as a floating radio station off Harwich. It the spring of 2008 it was towed to Portland for the filming of a movie, The Boat That Rocked. The ship returned to Harwich, and on Easter weekend 2009 BBC Essex broadcast from the vessel. The ship then underwent a two-year restoration, while the Tendring and Essex County Councils secured a £220,000 grant from the Haven Gateway Partnership to create a mooring for the vessel as a tourist attraction. In May 2011 the restored ship was brought to its new berth; a photo is available. Moored at the Ha'Penny Pier in Harwich. Site open, vessel open but the schedule is not known. Owner: Pharos Trust.
*** Harwich High (Range Rear) (2)
1818 (John Rennie Sr.) (station established 1665). Inactive since 1863. 21 m (70 ft) nine-sided brick tower; the light was shown through a window of the top story. Kit Reynolds's photo is at right, a fine 2007 closeup is available, the Harwich Society has the history of the station, and Google has a satellite view. The light was originally shown from a lantern atop the town gate. The present lighthouse was transferred to the Harwich Borough Council in 1909. Partially restored by the town in 1974, the tower stood empty until 1991, when it was leased as a wireless museum. Located at the south end of West Street in downtown Harwich. Site open, museum open daily (?). Owner: Tendring District Council. Site manager: National Vintage Wireless and Television Museum Trust. ARLHS ENG-093.

Harwich High Light, April 2005
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Kit Reynolds
*** Harwich Low (Range Front) (3)
1818 (John Rennie Sr.) (station established 1665). Inactive since 1863. 9 m (30 ft) nine-sided, 3-story round cylindrical tower with gallery; the light was shown through a window of the top story. Tower painted white with a gray roof. A 2007 closeup is available, the Harwich Society has the history of the station, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse was replaced in 1727 by a wood tower shown in a well known painting by John Constable. The present lighthouse was transferred to the Harwich Borough Council in 1909, but Trinity House reclaimed it briefly (1970-74) as a pilot station. Since 1980 it has housed a small maritime museum. Volunteers repainted the lighthouse in March 2009 and were stunned when vandals covered it with graffiti within hours. Located on the North Sea promenade off the Harbour Crescent in Harwich. Site open, museum open daily (?). Owner: Tendring District Council. Site manager: The Harwich Society. ARLHS ENG-092.
* Dovercourt Low (Range Front)
1863. Inactive since 1917. 8 m (27 ft) hexagonal lantern, watch room, and gallery on four cast iron screwpile legs. Tower painted black, lantern white with a black roof. Rennie Chivers has a good 2007 photo, the light is seen in the distance in Keith Evans's photo at right, and Google has a satellite view. The Dovercourt Range Lights replaced the Harwich Range Lights in 1863. The lighthouses were restored in the 1980s. In 2005 both Dovercourt lights were leased to Tony O'Neil, custodian of the Harwich High Lighthouse, who planned to install cameras in the tower so visitors to the Dovercourt High Light can view its interior. Located just offshore at Dovercourt, a town on the south side of Harwich; easily visible from the promenade. Site open, tower closed--but nothing prevents visitors from climbing the external ladders to the gallery. Owner/site manager: Harwich Town Council. ARLHS ENG-037.
* Dovercourt High (Range Rear)
1863. Inactive since 1917. 14 m (45 ft) hexagonal lantern, watch room, and gallery on six cast iron legs. Tower painted black, lantern white with a black roof. Keith Evans's photo is at right, Arthur Pijpers has a good photo, Martin Lucas also has a photo, a 2009 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The Dovercourt Range Lights replaced the Harwich Range Lights in 1863. The lighthouses were restored in the 1980s. In 2005 both Dovercourt lights were leased to Tony O'Neil, custodian of the Harwich High Lighthouse, who plans to open a lighthouse museum in the tower. Located on the beach, near the seaside promenade at Dovercourt, on the south side of Harwich. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Harwich Town Council. ARLHS ENG-215.
** Bateman's Tower
Date unknown (tower built 1883). Active (privately maintained); focal plane 12 m (39 ft); continuous yellow light. 10 m (33 ft) octagonal cylindrical masonry tower with observation room and a conical roof. The tower is unpainted. Trabas has a closeup photo, another recent photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. John Bateman built this tower for his daughter, who was suffering from tuberculosis. The roof was removed during World War II, when the tower was used for observation. In 2005, the tower was restored and a replica of the original roof was installed; this project was carried out by the Colne Yacht Club with funding from the Heritage Lottery. Located on Westmarsh Point on the east side of the River Colne in Brightlingsea. Site open; tower open during special events. Admiralty A2187; NGA 1440.

Dovercourt Range Lights, Harwich, February 2010
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Keith Evans
Gunfleet
1850. Inactive since 1920. Screwpile tower, originally with a lantern mounted on the roof of the hexagonal keeper's quarters. The lantern may have been removed; this isn't clear from available sources. In 1974 the lighthouse was briefly occupied by a "pirate" offshore radio station, but the operators were evicted. Presently the tower carries meteorological instruments. Michel Forand has a historic photo (taken around 1910) showing the original appearance of the lighthouse. Located 10 km (6 mi) off Frinton-on-Sea at the northern entrance to the Thames embayment. Accessible only boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: Gunfleet Sands Windfarm. ARLHS ENG-049.

Colchester Lightship
* Trinity House Lightship 16 Colne Light
1954. Decommissioned 1988. 36.3 m (119 ft) two-masted steel lightship; light tower with lantern and gallery amidships. Vessel painted red. Carron Brown's photo is at right, Bill Wellham has an excellent 2008 photo, another photo is available, and Google has a fine satellite view. We need more information on the history of this vessel; it is known to have been serving on the South Goodwin station when it was damaged in 1960. In 1988 the ship was sold as training vessel for the Sea Cadets. In 2002 the ship was painted and refurbished so that it could also be used as a conference facility and party venue. Moored on the King Edward Quay at Hythe, a dockside area on the Colne estuary near Colchester. Site open, vessel closed to the public. Owner: Colchester Sea Cadets. ARLHS ENG-321.

Maldon Lighthouses
* Trinity House Lightship 15 Trinity
1955. Decommissioned 1988. 36.3 m (119 ft) two-masted steel lightship; light tower with lantern and gallery amidships. Vessel painted red. Built by Philip & Son, Ltd., of Dartmouth. Andrew Dunn has a nice view of the ship and also a closeup photo, Barry Slemmings has another closeup, and Google has a satellite view. The ship served 1960-69 as the Scarweather off the Tyne estuary in the North Sea, and then 1969-80 as the Swansea in the Bristol Channel. In 1988 it was sold to Fellowship Afloat, a Christian organization for adventure and exploring the environment. The ship provides accommodations for participants in Fellowship Afloat programs. Beached on Woodrolfe Creek at Tollesbury, on the north side of the Blackwater estuary. Site open, vessel closed to the public. Owner/site manager: Fellowship Afloat Charitable Trust. ARLHS ENG-320.

Lightship Colne Light
Lightship 16 Colne Light, Colchester, May 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Carron Brown

* Heybridge
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); green light, 2.5 s on, 2.5 s off. Light mounted atop a 2-story waterfront building, the clubhouse of the Blackwater Sailing Club. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The club is located on the north bank of the Blackwater estuary at Heybridge, on the east side of Maldon. Site open. Owner/site manager: Blackwater Sailing Club. Admiralty A2180.
* Marconi Sailing Club
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); continuous white light. Light mounted on a lamppost atop a 2-story brick waterfront building, the clubhouse of the Marconi Sailing Club. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The club is located on the south bank of the Blackwater estuary at the end of Stansgate Road. Site open. Owner/site manager: Marconi Sailing Club. Admiralty A2179.6.

Thurrock Lighthouses
* Trinity House Lightship 44 Newarp
1869 (C. Hill & Sons, Bristol). Decommissioned 1945. 32 m (105 ft) wood lightship. The ship was stationed off Caernarvon Bay, Wales, and later for many years on the Newarp station. After being decommissioned, it was sold to the Erith Yacht Club and later the Pitsea Yacht Club. The abandoned ship is aground in a creek in the Wat Tyler Country Park on the south side of Pitsea. Klempau also has a photo, Anna Jenšíková has photos, and Google has a satellite view. Site open; keep off the ship. Owner: unknown.
* Trinity House Lightship 38 Gull (Brake)
1860. Decommissioned 1946. 27.5 m (90 ft) wood lightship; the light was shown from a lantern on a mast amidships. After serving on the Nab and Would stations, the ship spent its later career mostly as the Brake. The ship sank in 1929 after a collision with the liner City of York. Raised and repaired, it continued on the Brake station until it suffered another collision in 1940. Its last service as the Gull was quite brief. In 1946 it was sold as the club ship of the Thurrock Yacht Club at Grays. After the clubhouse was moved onshore, the ship did not find another use. Beached on the Thames next to the club, it has been vandalized repeatedly and is now in a state of collapse. A 2006 photo is available, Clive Power has another sad photo, Glyn Baker has a photo, Anna Jenšíková has photos, and Google has a satellite view. The mast and lantern were salvaged, restored, and placed at the yacht club; a dedication ceremony was held in November 2012. A photo of the restored mast is available (third photo on the page). Located on the north bank of the Thames near the intersection of Argent Street and Thames Road in Grays. Site open; keep off the ship. Owner: Thurrock Yacht Club.
Stoneness
1885. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); green flash every 2.5 s. 12 m (38 ft) square skeletal tower, upper part enclosed, with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted red with a white band below the lantern. A photo is at right, Frederick Roll has a 2011 closeup, Trabas has a good photo, Millichamp also has another photo taken by the port authority, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the tip of a sharp point projecting into the north side of the Thames about 1200 m (3/4 mi) southeast of the Dartford Bridge. Site status unknown, tower closed. Operator: Port of London Authority (originally Trinity House). ARLHS ENG-289; Admiralty A2126.
Stoneness Light
Stoneness Light, Thurrock, September 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by kenjonbro

Greater London Lighthouses

* Trinity House Lightship 93
1939 (Phillip & Son, Dartmouth). Decommissioned 2002. 40.85 m (134 ft) steel lightship with square pyramidal light tower, lantern, and gallery. Entire ship painted red. Fin Fahey has a good closeup, Phillip Perry has a photo, Anna Jenšíková has photos, and Google has a satellite view. The ship served a large part of its career on the Galloper station off Harwich, but also had several other assignments. It was sold at auction in September 2004. It is now owned by photographer Michele Turriani, who uses it as a studio. Moored at the Trinity Buoy Wharf in Blackwall, a few feet from the Blackwall lighthouse; Paul Featherstone has a photo showing both. Site open, ship closed. Owner/site manager: private.
Trinity House Lightship 95 Inner Dowsing
1939. Decommissioned 2004. Steel lightship, length 40.85 m (134 ft), painted red. The light was shown from a large lantern atop a skeletal tower amidships. The ship served many stations, most recently serving as the Inner Dowsing off the entrance to the Humber. In December 2004 the lightship was moored at Rochester for sale for £110,000. In July 2007, Paul Gruet took a photo of the ship moored at Hoo; it is also seen in David Anstiss's photo below. Finally sold in late 2008, the ship has been moved to the Trinity Buoy Wharf, where it is to be used as a music studio. Peter Trimming has a September 2009 photo showing LS-95 behind LS-93, Anna Jenšíková has photos, and Google has a satellite view. Site open, vessel closed. Site manager: private. ARLHS ENG-272.
* Blackwall (Trinity House Wharf)
1863. Inactive since 1988. Hexagonal brick tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story brick depot buildings. Tower unpainted, lantern painted black. The lighthouse, part of the Trinity House lighthouse depot, was used for training purposes until Trinity House moved its operations to Harwich in 1988. Julian Osley's photo is at right, Millichamp has a good photo (second row, left), Stephen and Lucy Dawson have posted a photo taken from the river (sixth photo on the page), and Google has a satellite view. Martin Stewart's October 2005 photo shows some restoration work in progress, and by 2006 the building had reopened as venue and exhibition space. Located on the Trinity Buoy Wharf in Blackwall at the entrance to Bow Creek, opposite the London Millennium Dome. Site and building open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Trinity Buoy Wharf. ARLHS ENG-275.
Crayford Ness (3)
1981 (station established 1950s). Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); white flash every 5 s. 22.5 m (74 ft) square skeletal radar tower; the light is shown from a square metal enclosure midway on the tower. Trabas has a photo, Millichamp has a small photo (about 1/3 the way down the page) and Google has a satellite view. A much taller communications tower stands next to the radar tower and is joined to it by an aerial walkway. Located on a promontory on the south bank of the Thames off Landau Way on the east side of Erith. Site probably open, tower closed. ARLHS ENG-027; Admiralty A2130.

Blackwall Light, Greenwich, June 2010
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Julian Osley

Kent Lighthouses

Gravesham Lighthouses
* Northfleet Upper (2)
1972 (station established 1926). Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white, red or green light depending on direction, 8 s on, 2 s off. Lantern mounted on the roof of an 8-story office building owned by Lafarge Cement UK, Ltd. Lantern painted red. Trabas has a closeup of the light, and Google has a satellite view. This light replaced a black iron skeletal tower at the end of a short jetty belonging to the Associated Portland Cement company, probably a predecessor of Lafarge Cement. Located on the waterfront just west of the lower light. Site open. Operator: Port of London Authority (originally Trinity House). Admiralty A2119.
* Northfleet Lower (2)
1883 (station established 1859). Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white or red light, depending on direction, occulting once every 5 s. 16 m (53 ft) four-legged circular wrought iron skeletal tower with lantern, gallery, and three landings. Entire lighthouse painted red. This is the oldest of the River Thames light stations. Millichamp has two more photos (4/5 of the way down the page) taken by the Dartford and Gravesend Building Preservation Trust; hopefully this means this historic tower will be preserved. Paul Johnston has a 2010 photo, and Google has a satellite view. Originally built on the India Arms Wharf, the lighthouse was relocated 282 m (925 ft) eastward in 1968 due to development of the waterfront. Located on the India Arms Wharf in Northfleet, on the south side of the river. Apparently accessible by walking the wharf. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Port of London Authority (originally Trinity House). ARLHS ENG-089; Admiralty A2118.
* [Gravesend Town Pier]
Date unknown (pier built in 1834). Active; characteristics unknown. Approx. 7 m (23 ft) white post light mounted on a square base. Trabas has a good photo, Stephen McKay has a 2012 photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the historic cast iron Gravesend Town Pier, at the end of High Street, about 400 m (1/4 mi) west of the Royal Terrace Pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty A2099.
* Gravesend Royal Terrace Pier
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 14 m (46 ft); continuous red light. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) light tower with an open cupola-style lantern rising from a 1-story pier building. Tower painted brown, lantern white. Trabas has a good photo, and Google has a satellite view. The pier, built in 1844, has an illustrious history. "Royal" was added to the name when Princess Alexandra of Denmark arrived there in 1863 to marry the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII. Located on Royal Pier Road in Gravesend, about 500 m (0.3 mi) east of the town pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty A2098.
* Shornemead (Shornmeade) (1)
1913. Inactive since 2004. Approx. 11 m (36 ft) hexagonal skeletal tower, upper part enclosed, with lantern and gallery, formerly mounted on timber pilings. A metal walkway connected the tower to the riverbank. Google has a satellite view of the former foundation of the light. Millichamp visited the light in 2003 and found it was scheduled to be replaced by a modern aid; this happened sometime in 2004. Millichamp also has a photo of the old light (at the bottom of the page) standing on the Denton pier of the Port Authority after its removal. He assumed it was going to be demolished, but this didn't happen; when Anna Jenšíková visited in 2009 the lighthouse was still at the base of the Denton Pier. She contributed the photo at right, David Bullock has another photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the base of the Denton Pier, near the end of Mark Lane, Gravesend. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ENG-281.
* Shornemead (Shornmeade) (2)
2004 (station established 1913). Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); two flashes every 10 s, white, red, or green depending on direction. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical tower with three galleries. Tower painted red with one white horizontal band. Trabas has a closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view. The light stands in the water, no longer connected to shore, about 500 yd (460 m) west of the old location. Located on the south bank of the estuary near the Shornemead Fort, at the lower end of the Gravesend Reach. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Port of London Authority. Admiralty A2096.
Shornmead Light
1913 Shornemead Light at Denton Pier, November 2009
photo copyright Anna Jenšíková; used by permission

Medway Lighthouse
Isle of Grain
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); quick-flashing light, white, red, or green depending on direction. 20 m (66 ft) triangular skeletal tower, mounted on a wood equipment room supported by piles. Tower painted red. The tower also carries a diamond-shaped daymark painted red and white; the daymark is edge-on on the right side of the tower in Trabas's photo. Google has a good satellite view. This is the leading light for vessels entering the Medway. Located off Port Victoria Road at the eastern end of the Isle of Grain. Site status unknown. Admiralty A2009.7; NGA 1400.

Lightships on the River Medway
* Trinity House Lightship 86 Nore
1931. Decommissioned 1974. Steel lightship, length 26.2 m (86 ft), painted red. The light was shown from a large lantern atop a mast amidships. The ship is at the left edge of the photo at right, Doug Marsh has a closeup of the owner in the lantern, a 2009 photo is available, Anna Jenšíková has photos, and Google has a satellite view. Ken Brown has a July 2008 photo of two lightships at Hoo, presumably the Orwell and the Nore. The ship served on the Edinburgh Channel station in the Thames estuary and at Cork Bank off Harwich. After decommissioning, it was sold to the Taylor Woodrow Maritime Heritage Site at St. Katherines Dock in London. Renamed Nore, it was used as office space. In 1996 it was sold to a private individual, who has moored it at Port Werburgh Marina in Hoo as a residence. When Iris Klempau visited Hoo in July 2008, she found the ship to be in poor condition. Site apparently open, vessel closed. Owner/site manager: private.
* Trinity House Lightship 80 Orwell
1914. Decommissioned 1977. Steel lightship, length 35.5 m (116 ft), painted red. The light was shown from a large lantern atop a mast amidships. Anna Jenšíková has photos, and Google has a satellite view. Ken Brown has a July 2008 photo of two lightships at Hoo, the Orwell and the Nore; in Tony Watson's 2011 photo the Nore is on the left and the Orwell on the right. At the time of David Anstiss's photo at right, the two lightships were joined by Lightship 95. LS-80 served almost entirely on the Seven Stones station. After deactivation it was sold to become the headquarters for the Sea Cadets Corps in Ipswich, which renamed it T.S. Orwell. In October 2004 the Sea Cadets sold the ship for £5,000, its scrap value, but it shortly appeared for sale on Sotheby's list with a price tag of £85,000. After being sold at least once and perhaps twice more, it found a new owner who has refurbished it as a houseboat. As of July 2008 it appeared to be in very good condition. Site apparently open, vessel closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS ENG-325.

Left to right: Lightships 86, 80, and 95 at Hoo, November 2008
(LV-95 has since moved to London)
Geograph Creative Commons photo by David Anstiss
Irish Lightship Gannet (Coningbeg)
1954. Decommissioned 2007. 36.3 m (119 ft) steel lightship; hexagonal skeletal light tower with lantern and gallery amidships. Entire ship painted red. Fog horn (3 blasts every 60 s). William Murphey has an October 2007 photo of the ship at Dún Laoghaire. As a manned lightship, Gannet served 26 years on the Kish Bank station. Iris Klempau reports that Gannet served on the Coningbeg station beginning in 2001, when it replaced Skua. In February 2007 the lightship was replaced by a modern lightfloat, and in 2009 the CIL placed the ship up for sale. As of April 2009 the ship was still tied up at Dún Laoghaire. Klempau reported that it was later sold and towed to London, where it arrived on 13 March 2010. However, William Murphey has a photo showing the ship at Hoo on the Medway on that date. In November 2010 the ship was sold again, to Simon Freeman, who definitely has the ship moored in the Medway. The new owner is hard at work restoring the vessel; he has a blog describing this work. Moored at Hoo. Site open, vessel closed. ARLHS IRE-129.
Irish Lightship Albatross
1925 (H. Robb Ltd, Leith). Decommissioned 1970. 31 m (102 ft) steel lightship; the light was shown from a round lantern on a slender mast amidships. Ship painted red, superstructure white. In 1970 the ship was sold to the Scout Association of Ireland and moored in Dun Laoghaire Harbour as a sea cadet training ship. High maintenance costs put an end to that career in the 1990s. In 1999 the ship was painted with luminous paint as part of an art installation. In 2000, according to CIL, it was sold to James Tyrrell and moved to Arklow. The light tower was removed and restored and is displayed on the Arklow waterfront. The rest of the ship was painted black and returned to Dublin, where it was a set for the 2002 movie Reign of Fire. In 2011 the ship was towed to Hoo on the Medway, where was for sale for £75,000. Moored at Hoo, close to Gannet. Site open, vessel closed.
Trinity House Lightship 88 ex-Lord Nelson
1936. Decommissioned 1977. Steel lightship, length 30 m (99 ft), painted red. The ship served on the Cockle and Cork stations. It was sold to become the headquarter for the Sea Cadets Corps in Norwich, which renamed it T.S. Lord Nelson. The light tower, removed before the sale, was transferred to Lightship 87 at Ipswich (see Eastern England). The current status of this ship is unclear. In October 2004, Klempau reported it was moored at Rochester and painted blue instead of red. Anna Jenšíková visited the ship in November 2009 and contributed the photo at right. More information is needed. Moored on the waterfront at Hoo. Owner: unknown. ARLHS ENG-327.
** Trinity House Lightship 16 (1) Inner Dowsing
1840. Decommissioned 1945. 26.7 m (87 ft) wood lightship, now brought onshore and stripped of its masts. Ship painted dark red with white trim. Several photos are available, and Google has a satellite view. This is the old LS-16, not to be confused with the more modern Lightship 16 Colne Light now at Colchester (see above). This ship served many stations, but it was on the Inner Dowsing station off the Humber when it was retired. The ship was first sold to the Benfleet Marina, but in 1983 it was brought to the Medway Bridge Marina in Rochester and opened as a private club. In 1989 it became a restaurant open to the public. That restaurant closed, but when Jenšíková visited in November 2009 she found the ship being reconstructed; it has since been reopened as the Inner Dowsing Lightship Restaurant. Located at the marina, on the south side of the Medway, just downstream from the M2 expressway bridge in Rochester. Site open, restaurant open daily. Owner: Inner Dowsing Lightship Restaurant. Site manager: Medway Bridge Marina.
Trinity House LV 88
Lightship 88 at Hoo, November 2009
photo copyright Anna Jenšíková; used by permission
* Trinity House Lightship 21 Seven Stones
1963 (Philip & Son, Dartmouth). Decommissioned 2008. Formerly this station was occupied by a 40.5 m (133 ft) steel lightship; the light was displayed from a large lantern on a cylindrical mast amidships. Vessel painted red. Millichamp has a photo taken September 2003 (bottom of the page), Iris Klempau has a historic photo of the ship in port, and Google has a satellite view. This ship served much of its career on the East Goodwin station in the North Sea off the coast of Kent. It was transferred in 2003 to the Seven Stones Reef, northeast of the Isles of Scilly and northwest of Land's End. No longer crewed, the ship was operated automatically. It was retired from service in 2008, sold in 2009, and towed to the Gillingham Pier on the Medway. It is under renovation to become "a floating cultural facility designed to provide a range of services promoting and supporting the creative industries in the Medway area and beyond," according to its owners. Moored at the Gillingham Pier in Gillingham, on the south side of the Medway. Site open, vessel open for scheduled events. Owner: Light Vessel 21. ARLHS ENG-124.

City of Canterbury Lighthouses
Herne Bay
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); quick-flashing white light. 15 m (49 ft) octagonal lantern mounted atop an octagonal concrete building on a platform supported by concrete piles. Trabas has a photo, and Tim Hoare has a 2009 photo. This unusual structure is adjacent to the remains of a former pier. Most of the pier was destroyed by a storm. Located about 1 km (0.6 mi) offshore of Herne Bay, 8 km (5 mi) north of Canterbury. Site and tower closed, although there should be a good view from shore. Admiralty A1976; NGA 1376.
* [St. Mary's of Reculver]
12th century. Inactive daybeacons. Twin square stone church towers, the remains of an otherwise ruined church. Rob Farrow has a 2010 photo, and Google has a satellite view. The site of an ancient monastery, Reculver is a historic place in English church history. Around 1800, Trinity House bought the ruins of the church, restored the tower, and added windvanes; Wikipedia has a photo taken between 1910 and 1916. The windvanes were removed about 1930, but the towers are still charted as daybeacons. Located just off the beach at Reculver, about 2 km (1.25 mi) east of Herne Bay. Site open, towers closed.

Thanet District (Northeast Kent) Lighthouses
* Margate Pier (2)
1954 (station established 1828). Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); continuous red light. 20 m (66 ft) octagonal stone tower with lantern. A photo is available, Trabas has a fine closeup, Werning has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Huelse has a historic postcard view of the original lighthouse, which was destroyed by the Great Storm of 1953. Located at the end of the breakwater pier in Margate. Site open, tower closed. Operator: unknown. ARLHS ENG-079; Admiralty A1972; NGA 1372.
* North Foreland (2)
1691 (height increased in 1793). Station established 1636. Active; focal plane 57 m (187 ft); five white flashes every 20 s. 26 m (85 ft) octagonal cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white, attached to two 2-story keeper's houses. Antony Shepherd's photo is at right, another closeup photo is available, Trabas has a good photo, Werning has a photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. This historic lighthouse marks the beginning of the approach to the Thames estuary and the port of London. The tower was built by Sir John Meldrum in 1636; in 1719 it was acquired by the trustees of Greenwich Hospital. The tower was increased in height in 1793. In 1832 it was purchased by Trinity House, and the present lantern was installed in 1890. North Foreland was the last manned lighthouse in Britain, finally automated in November 1998. Located at the northeastern corner of Kent, on North Foreland Road 2 km (1.2 mi) north of Broadstairs. Site open; the tower was formerly open, but it is apparently closed now. Operator: Trinity House. ARLHS ENG-087; Admiralty A0966; NGA 1364.
* Ramsgate West Pier (Ramsgate Range Rear) (3)
1842 (John Shaw). Station established 1783. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); continuous red light. 11 m (36 ft) round granite tower with lantern and gallery. The tower is unpainted; lantern painted red. Trabas has a photo, Werning also has a photo, a historic photo is available, Huelse has a historic postcard view, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. The front light of the range is a post light at the end of the east pier. Located at the end of the pier in Ramsgate. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Port of Ramsgate. ARLHS ENG-241; Admiralty A0957.1; NGA 1340.
North Foreland Light
North Foreland Light, Broadstairs and St. Peter's, May 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Antony Shepherd

Dover Strait Lightships
Trinity House Lightship Foxtrot 3
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 10 s. Steel lightship; the light is displayed from a large lantern on a skeletal tower amidships. Vessel painted red. Fog horn (blast every 10 s). J. Skinner has a March 2010 photo. We do not know the history of this ship. Located in the center of the northern entrance to the channel, about 35 km (22 mi) east of the North Foreland and a similar distance northwest of Dunkerque. Accessible only by boat. Site open, vessel closed. Admiralty A0992; NGA 1336.
Trinity House Lightship 17 East Goodwin
1964 (Charles Hill, Bristol, England). Active (?); focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 15 s. 40.5 m (133 ft) steel lightship, painted red. The light is shown from a large lantern on a skeletal tower amidships. Trinity House has a page for the station, Kent Charter Fishing has contributed a 2008 photo, and Trabas has a very distant view by Capt. Peter Mosselberger. The ship is unstaffed and operates automatically. This ship served much of its career on the South Goodwin station; it was apparently transferred to East Goodwin in 2007. Located on the East Goodwin Sands, a shoal about 13 km (8 mi) east of Deal. Accessible only by boat. Site open, vessel closed. ARLHS ENG-189; Admiralty A0984; NGA 1324.
Trinity House Lightship Sandettié
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 5 s. Steel lightship; the light is displayed from a large lantern on a skeletal tower amidships. Vessel painted red. Fog horn (blast every 30 s). Trabas has a distant view. We do not know the history of this ship, one of the last Trinity House lightships still on station. The ship is unstaffed and operates automatically. The Sandettié station was formerly the responsibility of France, but the last French lightship, BF-6 Sandettié, was withdrawn on 3 June 1989. (BF-6 is moored at Dunkerque as an exhibit of the maritime museum; see the France North Coast page.) Located in the North Sea at the eastern entrance to the Strait of Dover, about 13 km (8 mi) north of Calais and 25 km (15 mi) east of the South Foreland. Operator: Trinity House. Admiralty A0994; NGA 8932.
Trinity House Lightship 19 Varne
1958 (Philip & Son, Dartmouth) (station established 1890). Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); red flash every 20 s. 40.5 m (133 ft) steel lightship; the light is displayed from a large lantern on a cylindrical mast amidships. Vessel painted red. Trabas has an excellent photo by Capt. Theo Hinrichs (also seen at right), Trinity House has a page for the station, a closeup photo is available, and Kent Charter Fishing has contributed a photo. This ship served for many years on the Seven Stones station off Land's End; it was transferred to the Varne station in 2003. The ship is unstaffed and operates automatically. Located in the English Channel about 10 km (6 mi) southeast of Dover. Accessible only by boat. Site open, vessel closed. Operator: Trinity House. ARLHS ENG-270; Admiralty A0897.5 (formerly A0970); NGA 1224.
LV-19 Varne
Trinity House Lightship 19 Varne and White Cliffs of Dover
photo copyright Capt. Theo Hinrichs; used by permission

Dover District Lighthouses
* Deal Pier
2008? (station established 1865). Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); continuous red light. Post light mounted atop a pierhead restaurant. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The present pier, the third at this location, was built in 1957 and extends 311 m (1020 ft) into the Channel. Trabas's photo and the satellite view are probably obsolete, because a new restaurant was built on the pierhead in 2008. Located at the end of the Deal Pier, about 13 km (8 mi) northeast of Dover and a similar distance south of Ramsgate. Site open (entry fee to the pier). Admiralty A0950; NGA 1312.
South Foreland Low
1793. Inactive since 1904. 15 m (49 ft) octagonal cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Colin Smith has a 2011 photo, Werning has a photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view of the station, and Google has a satellite view. The keeper's cottages formerly attached to the tower have been demolished. Located near the shore, below the high light, on private property. Site and tower closed; the top of the tower can be seen from a distance. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS ENG-130.
**** South Foreland (2) (High)
1843 (station established 1793). Inactive since 1988. 21 m (69 ft) octagonal cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white, attached to 1-story keeper's houses. Operational 1st order Fresnel lens mounted in the lantern. David Meggers's photo is at right, Werning also has a good photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The South Foreland is not a prominent cape, but it is the southeasternmost corner of Britain and the eastern entrance to the Strait of Dover. The lighthouse was the scene of a famous experiment on Christmas Eve 1898, when Guglielmo Marconi succeeded in contacting the lightship Goodwin Sands using his newly-invented radio equipment. In 2004 the rotating mechanism of the lens was restored and returned to the tower. In 2014 there was a thorough restoraton of the exterior of the lighthouse. Located atop the White Cliffs of Dover about 8 km (5 mi) east of the city near St. Margaret-at-Cliffe. Accessible by a walk of about 3 km (2 mi) from the National Trust's White Cliffs parking area or about 1.5 km (1 mi) from Margaret's-at-Cliffe. Site open; normally the tower is open to guided tours Friday through Monday and on school holidays, March through October and daily in late July and August; tours available by appointment in the winter. (The tower is closed for restoration in 2014.) Owner/site manager: National Trust. ARLHS ENG-129.
South Foreland
South Foreland Light, St. Margaret-at-Cliffe, July 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by David Meggers
Dover Breakwater Knuckle
1909. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); four flashes every 10 s, red or white depending on direction. 16 m (52 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Trabas has an excellent photo by Arno Siering, Werning has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the south end of the knuckle (bend) of the detached outer breakwater in Dover. Site and tower closed. Operator: Dover Harbour Board. ARLHS ENG-286; Admiralty A0926; NGA 1276.
Dover Breakwater West End
1909. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); red light, one 3 s occultation every 30 s. 21 m (70 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. This lighthouse and the Admiralty Pier Light bracket the western entrance to Dover Harbour. A photo is at right, Trabas has a good photo, Werning has a photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view showing the entire breakwater and both lighthouses, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the west end of the detached outer breakwater. Site and tower closed. Operator: Dover Harbour Board. ARLHS ENG-294; Admiralty A0924; NGA 1272.
* Dover Prince of Wales Pier
1902. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); very quick flashing green light. 14 m (46 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Located at the end of the pier, which separates the outer and inner harbors at Dover. Trabas has a fine photo, Werning has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos misidentified as the Breakwater West End Light, and Google has a satellite view. The Prince of Wales Pier is parallel to and sheltered by the Admiralty Pier. Accessible by walking the pier, which is very popular for walking and fishing. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Dover Harbour Board. ARLHS ENG-214; Admiralty A0902; NGA 1268.
Dover Breakwater West End Light
Dover Breakwater West End Light, May 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by rattyfied
* Dover Admiralty Pier (3)
1908 (station established 1842). Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 7.5 s. 22 m (72 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Trabas has a good photo, Werning also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse replaced a 9 m (30 ft) tower built in 1876. Located at the end of the pier, which extends 1220 m (4000 ft) west to east enclosing the western side of Dover Harbour. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Dover Harbour Board. ARLHS ENG-036; Admiralty A0900; NGA 1236.
* Dubris Pharos
Around 130-150 AD. Ruined octagonal flint rubblestone stepped tower built by the Roman government of Britain. Richard White's photo is at right, another excellent photo is available, Wikimedia has a photo, Huelse has a colorized historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. This is the tallest Roman ruin in Britain and the only substantial Roman lighthouse ruin anywhere. The surviving portion of the tower is 19 m (62 ft) tall and has three stages (storys) and most of a fourth; the topmost 6 m (20 ft) are of medieval construction. Scholars believe the tower originally had eight stages and was about 24 m (80 ft) tall. An open fire was displayed from the top to guide ships into the harbor of Dubris, as Dover was called in Roman times. Since the twelfth century the tower has stood within the walls of Dover Castle, adjacent to the Church of St. Mary in Castro. The tower was used as the bell tower of the church in medieval times, and in the 1580s it was renovated to serve also as a powder magazine. The Romans actually built two lighthouses, but a small lump of masonry called the Bredenstone is all that survives of the Western Pharos. Located on the heights above Dover Harbour. Site open, base of the tower open. Owner/site manager: English Heritage. ARLHS ENG-034.

Shepway District Lighthouses
Folkestone Pier
1860. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); two white flashes every 10 s; in fog the characteristic changes to a white flash every 2 s. 13 m (43 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery. Tower unpainted; lantern painted white. Fog horn (four blasts every 60 s). Trabas has an excellent photo, Jane Palmer has a photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the New Pier in Folkestone. Site and tower closed (the pier is not open to the public). Operator: Folkestone Harbour Company. ARLHS ENG-216; Admiralty A0892; NGA 1228.
* [Dungeness (3)]
1792 (Samuel Wyatt). Station established 1615. Inactive since 1904. The 35 m (115 ft) tower, similar in design to Smeaton's Tower at Eddystone, was demolished in 1904, but the keeper's houses survive. No photo available. Dungeness Point is the western entrance to the Strait of Dover; it is a broad wedge of land that is gradually extending itself into the Channel, making it necessary from time to time to build new lighthouses closer to the end of the point. Located about 600 m (1/3 mile) west of the point. Site open, buildings closed. Owner/site manager: unknown. ARLHS ENG-343.
Dubris Pharos
Dubris Pharos, Dover, October 2004
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Richard White
**** Dungeness (4) (Dungeness Old)
1904. Inactive since 1961. 43.5 m (143 ft) round brick tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted black with white trim; lantern and gallery painted white. Original 1st order Fresnel lens. Circular 2-story Coast Guard quarters and detached 1-story keeper's house. A photo is at right, Werning has a fine photo, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was replaced due to the extension of the point and the fact that its light was partly obscured by a nearby nuclear power plant. Originally painted with a white horizontal band, as seen in Huelse's postcard view, the tower was repainted all black to prevent confusion with its replacement. Privately owned by the Stanners family, it became a very popular tourist attraction. In 2005 the family offered the lighthouse for sale; no price was specified. Probably it was sold, because it appears to be under new management. Located about 450 m (1/4 mi) west of the point. Accessible by road and by railroad from Romney; parking provided. Site open; tower open to guided tours daily in July and August, Thursday through Sunday in May, June, and September and on weekends in March, April, and October. Site manager: The Old Lighthouse at Dungeness. ARLHS ENG-038.
* Dungeness (5)
1961. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); quick white flash every 10 s. 43 m (141 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, flared at the top, with lantern and gallery. The tower has black and white horizontal bands, but these colors are in the concrete, not painted. Fog horn (3 blasts every 60 s). Lighthouse floodlit at night. A photo is at the top of this page, Werning has a photo, Trabas has a good photo, and Google has a good satellite view. Located on the point. Site and tower closed, but the lighthouse can be viewed from nearby. Operator: Trinity House. ARLHS ENG-085; Admiralty A0876; NGA 1220.

Old Dungeness Light (with the new light in the right background), June 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by diamond geezer

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Chapman (1851-1957), Thames estuary. ARLHS ENG-022.
  • Maplin (1838-1932), Thames estuary. ARLHS ENG-078.
  • Mucking Flat (1851-1954), Thames estuary. ARLHS ENG-306.
  • Purfleet (1828-1870), Thames estuary. ARLHS ENG-307.
  • Whitstable (1830s-1960s), north Kent. ARLHS ENG-309.

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Eastern England | South: France North Coast | West: Southern England

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Posted August 27, 2004; checked and revised June 21, 2013. Lighthouses: 32, lightships: 17. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.