The first lighthouses were erected here in the 16th century by the Guild of the Blessed Trinity of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
By following a course which kept the two lights aligned, pilots were able to navigate along the Tyne, avoiding the dangerous Shields Bar and the Black Middens.
Initially, the 1727 High and Low Lights were each lit by three tallow candles. Copper reflectors were added in 1736, and in 1773 the candles were replaced by oil lamps.
When the New High and Low Lights were commissioned in 1810 the old lights were taken out of service and the white façade of the low light was painted black (to prevent it being confused with the new light when viewed from the water).
At some later date the Old High Light became a private dwelling, and it remains so today; it is a grade II listed building.
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