Lundy Old Light, completed in 1820, was designed by Daniel Asher Alexander. Built of enormous blocks of granite, it stands on the highest point of the island, Beacon Hill. The keepers’ quarters are still divided into the two original flats, Lower and Upper. Unusually for Lundy, they look out over the northern part of the island.
Because the site is 143 m above sea level the light was often obscured by fog.
The lighthouse displayed two lights; a lower a fixed white light and an upper a quick flashing white light, showing every 60 seconds. This flashing characteristic was an innovation at the time, but the speed of revolution gave the impression it was a fixed light. This confusion combined with poor visibility, is suspected to be the cause of the wreck of La Jeune Emma, bound from Martinique to Cherbourg in 1828. 13 of the 19 on board drowned, including Adeline Coquelin, the 12-year-old niece of Napoleon Bonaparte’s divorced wife Joséphine de Beauharnais
Owing to the ongoing complaints about the difficulty of sighting the light in fog, the lighthouse was abandoned in 1897 when the North and South Lundy lighthouses were built in its stead. The Old Light and the associated keepers’ houses are kept open by the Landmark Trust.
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