The two original lighthouses, now known as the Old Higher and Old Lower Lighthouses, originally operated as a pair of leading lights to guide ships between Portland Race and The Shambles sandbank. They were constructed in 1716, rebuilt in 1869, and decommissioned following the completion of the present lighthouse.
When Trinity House acquired the requisite land in 1903, they immediately put forward plans for a new lighthouse at Bill Point.
The lighthouse was completed in 1905 and the lamp first lit on 11 January 1906. It included a red sector light was in addition to the main light, shining from a window in the lower part of the tower, to indicate the position of The Shambles. The light was electrified in the mid-1950s and almost fifty years later on 18 March 1996, Portland Bill Lighthouse was de-manned, and all monitoring and control transferred to the Trinity House Operations & Planning Centre in Harwich.
As Portland’s prime attraction, the Portland Bill Lighthouse is open to the public for tours. A visitor centre is housed in the former lighthouse keeper’s quarters.
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