The idea for a lighthouse on Tiumpan Head was long promoted, but refused for many years by the Board of Trade. After a recommendation by the Western Highlands and Islands Commission that it might additionally keep a watch on illegal trawlers, it was subsequently approved in May 1879.
The lighthouse and building were designed by David and Charles Stevenson and built by John Aitken. Chance Brothers of Birmingham made the optics and Dove and Co. the revolving machine. The light was first exhibited on 1 December 1900.
Unusually, there was a total of six light keepers attached to the station, three with their families, based at the station, with a local assistant and two occasional light-keepers coming in from Portnaguran, a village nearby.
The Gaelic name is Rudha Tiompan and a one-sided knoll is called Tiompan. But as there are few Gaelic place names in Lewis, its origins are just as likely Norse, possibly originating from the word from “Sjon” or sight, which could also indicate a scouting position where the beacon fires were lit.
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