For more than 200 years, the lighthouse at Orford Ness warned mariners they were nearing Europe’s longest shingle spit. But as the sea steadily reclaimed the land on which it is built, the time was called on the iconic lighthouse and it was finally dismantled changing the skyline of the Suffolk coast forever.
Over the years 11 different lighthouses have stood on on Orford Ness. The earliest were wooden structures wood or coal braziers. The shifting shoreline and coastal erosion has always been a hinderance to any permanence on this coastline and the lighthouses were no exception. The last lighthouse was built in 1792 by Lord Braybrooke of Audley End and was lit by oil lamps.
In 1836 the lighthouse was compulsorily acquired by Trinity House and they managed it until it was decommissioned in 2013 because of the encroaching sea.
It was then sold to Orfordness Lighthouse Company Limited with a view to the public being allowed access during its final years. This was achieved by setting up a registered charity, the Orfordness Lighthouse Trust.
The lantern room and other artefacts have been preserved by the Orfordness Lighthouse Trust charity and it is hoped that they will form the basis of a lighthouse memorial structure on land which has been earmarked on the other side of the Ness facing the Orford town quay.
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