The Bishop Rock rises sheer from the ocean from a depth of 45 metres and is exposed to the full force of the Atlantic and its storm fronts.
Building a lighthouse on this inhospitable reef was one of the greatest engineering feats of maritime history. Work could only commence with Spring weather and suitable tides. The time-frame available to work on the rock was narrow so the workmen were billeted on nearby Rosvear island, barely big enough to accommodate two huts.
Because of the difficulty of working on such an exposed site, it took seven years to complete, but by 1st September 1858, the 35 metre tall edifice was complete and its beam shone out across the waves.
The flashing white light, visible for 24 miles was first shown in October 1887. Electrification arrived in 1973 and two years later a helipad was added to the roof. The lighthouse is now monitored and controlled from Trinity House’s Planning Centre in Harwich, Essex.
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