St Catherine’s Lighthouse is located at St Catherine’s Point at the southern tip of the Isle of Wight. It is one of the oldest lighthouse locations in Great Britain.
The present tower was constructed in 1838 and began operation in 1840. In 1875, the height of the elegant 3-tier octagonal tower was reduced substantially as – like its predecessors – its light was often shrouded in mist.
It was one of the first lighthouses in the world to be powered by electricity when arc lamps were installed in 1888. They could be seen for an incredible 30km.
The original fog signal house was on a cliff nearer the sea but was at risk of collapse due to erosion. In 1932, it was replaced by a shorter tower next to the main lighthouse. Being similar in style, they’re known locally as the Cow and Calf.
During the war, the lighthouse was an important landmark for shipping and aircraft. Sadly, on 1 June 1943 the engine house close to the lighthouse was bombed and three lighthouse keepers sheltering in it were killed.
St. Catherine’s Lighthouse was automated in 1997 with the keepers leaving the lighthouse on 30 July.
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