Located on Walney Island in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, the current lighthouse dates to the early 19th-century and is a Grade II* listed structure.
Completed in 1804, the stone lighthouse and its attached cottages predate Barrow and its port. The structure was built to replace a smaller wooden lighthouse that was constructed by the Lancaster Quay Commissioners in 1790 to aid in navigation towards the docks at Glasson close to Lancaster and the River Lune. It contained three reflectors mounted on a slowly-revolving shaft; the reflectors consisted of a concave wooden frame covered with small pieces of mirrored glass.
The original lighthouse was destroyed by fire in 1803 and was swiftly replaced by the lighthouse of today.
The lighthouse was designed by engineer E. Dawson. The optical system was a clockwork-driven rotating array of four Argand lamps backed by parabolic reflectors, which gave a white flash once a minute.
In 1909, an acetylene gaslight system was installed and this was updated to a ‘manned’ electric light in1953.
In 2003, when it was finally automated, Walney was the last manned lighthouse in England.
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