The Lower Lighthouse - built circa 1869 - along with the Upper Lighthouse (below)
Portland's first, lighthouses date from 1716, when two were erected at the Bill. In 1789 the Corporation of Trinity House took down one of these and rebuilt it, in a situation to serve for a mark by day or night to direct ships coming up or down the Channel or into Portland Roads clear of the Race or Shambles. *
The Lower Lighthouse abandoned - as it looked in 1956.
With thanks to the late David Perkins
In the upper or old house there were then two rows of Argand lamps, seven in each row, lighted with oil and burning a cotton wick of ¾ an inch in diameter and furnished with highly polished reflectors. In the lower house were six lamps of a similar construction, the light, of which was increased by a lens of 22 in. in diameter. The new lighthouse was built by William Johns, of Weymouth. It was 20 feet in diameter at the base and 10 feet at the top with a cornice two feet wide. It was 63 feet high, and was built of Portland stone.
New and improved higher and lower lighthouses were erected to take the place of the old ones in 1869. Another large lighthouse, which will do away with the existing two, was begun in 1904. (See special article.) *
- The Lighthouse Keepers 1905
- Upper Lighthouse Keepers: Messrs Batten (head) and Withers
- Lower Lighthouses: Messrs Taylor (head) and Comben
1716. The first lighthouses erected at Portland (upper and lower).*
1789. The lower lighthouse was rebuilt.*
1844. An obelisk, 30 ft high, was erected by the Trinity House at the Bill as a land mark for ships.*
1859. (Sept 1). The first lightship was placed at the Shambles.*
1869. Both the old Portland lighthouses were pulled down the present ones taking their place.* - now used as a bird observatory. Portland is on the flight path of many migratory birds and is a favourite place for "twitchers".
1883. A new lightship was provided for the Shambles.*
1 Aug 1940. The Shambles lightship: light was extinguished and lightship brought into Portland five days later, for the duration. (per The Royal Navy at PORTLAND Since 1845 by Geoffrey Carter).
1976. Lightship withdrawn and replaced by automatic buoys carrying lights, radio and fog signals.
The Higher or Upper Lighthouse, constructed circa 1869, and one time home of Mary Stopes, promoter of birth control
* Portland Year Book for 1905
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