The now disused 19th century Old Higher Lighthouse is located at Branscombe Hill on the west side of Portland, overlooking Portland Bill. The lighthouse is Grade II Listed.
The High and Low lights were designed as leading lights to guide ships between Portland Race and the Shambles sandbank. The two coal fired lights were first illuminated on 29 September 1716, but finding them poorly maintained, Trinity House took over responsibility in 1752.
Both Portland lighthouses were rebuilt in 1869, and provided with large (first-order) fixed optics designed and built by James Chance. At the turn of the 20th century, Trinity House made plans to build a new lighthouse at Bill Point to replace both current lighthouses. The new lighthouse was completed in 1905, and the original two lighthouses were then auctioned.
In 1923 it was bought by pioneer of birth control and Portland Museum founder Marie Stopes as a summer residence. During World War II, the Royal Observer Corps used the tower as a lookout. and in the early 1960s the lighthouse was run as a restaurant. The lighthouse and its cottages were refurbished in 1981. With a total of four cottages within its grounds, both the Branscombe Lodge Cottage and Stopes Cottage are now available as holiday lets.
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