South Foreland Lighthouse is a Victorian lighthouse on the South Foreland in St. Margaret’s Bay, Kent.
It used to warn ships approaching the nearby Goodwin Sands. Built in 1843, it went out of service in 1988 and is currently owned by the National Trust. It is notable as having been the first lighthouse to use an electric light, and was the site chosen by Guglielmo Marconi for his pioneering experiments in wireless radio transmissions.
The lighthouse was originally South Foreland Upper Lighthouse, one of a pair. The second lighthouse, South Foreland Lower Lighthouse was built at the same time further down the cliff, to the east, where it still stands; decommissioned in 1904, it is now in private ownership. Prior to the current buildings there had been a pair of lighthouses at South Foreland since at least the 1630s. Even after the decommissioning of the Lower Lighthouse the pair continued to be used as leading marks, with Admiralty charts into the 20th century indicating that the ‘Lighthouses in line lead south of the Goodwin Sands’.
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