Although known as the Berwick upon Tweed pier, the structure is in fact a breakwater, since its main function is to protect the entrance to the river Tweed from the sea rather than berthing shipping or boats.
Work on the 900 metre long pier started in 1810 and the lighthouse, (England’s most northerly), followed in 1826 and was designed by Joseph Nelson, who first worked with Daniel Alexander as a builder on South Stack and on many other Welsh lighthouses.
It is a stone circular tapering tower 13m high with a window for a light. The first 1/3rd of the base of the tower is painted red and the remainder, white. The structure is capped off with a red painted conical roof consisting of a single piece of stone.
The original light was oil; showing two fixed lights; white, visible for 21km and a red, visible for 13km.
As oil gave way to gas and later to electricity the backup was operated from large unwieldy batteries, charged up in the garage in the town. The charge lasted a week and Friday was set aside to trundle the renewed batteries on a wheel barrow out from the town and along the pier to the lighthouse. The light is now connected to the main electricity supply.
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