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Old Lower Lighthouse - Portland Bill, Dorset
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 50° 31.179 W 002° 27.059
30U E 538920 N 5596554
Quick Description: The Old Lower Lighthouse is a disused lighthouse on the Isle of Portland. it is situated close to the currently functioning Portland Bill Lighthouse, and found along the eastern side of Portland Bill.
Location: Southern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 4/10/2015 3:34:54 PM
Waymark Code: WMNNVD
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Bernd das Brot Team
Views: 0

Long Description:
"The Old Lower Lighthouse was opened on 29 September 1716 and had been rebuilt two times since, once in 1789 and again in 1869. It worked in tandem with the nearby Old Higher Lighthouse, which was built at the same time. The Old Lower Lighthouse was the first lighthouse in the world to use a true lenses. The remaining rebuilt version of the lighthouse seen today was built in 1869.

Both Portland Bill and Chesil Beach are the locations of many wrecks of vessels that failed to reach Weymouth or Portland Roads. The two lighthouses guided vessels heading for Portland and Weymouth through these hazardous waters as well as acting as a waymark for ships navigating the English Channel. Since 1961 the lighthouse has been the home of the Portland Bird Observatory.

For centuries Portland Bill, the promontory at Portland's southern-most point, has been considered one of the English Channel's most dangerous hazards. Aside from the promontory jutting out into the channel, the Portland Race and Shambles sandbank make the conditions around the Bill even more hazardous. The Portland race can run up to 10 knots in spring tidal streams, and are created when the tide and current clash round the Bill Point. The Shambles is a sandbank situated south-east of the Bill, which extends across two miles. The depth of the sankbank has been recorded as reaching as little as 11 feet in two places during low tide. Due to the danger's, beacons were often lit around Portland Bill, and the original pair of lighthouses were built in the early 18th century. Today Portland Bill still remains an important way-point for vessels, though the combination of the present lighthouse, and modern navigational technology, has significantly reduced shipping incidents.

The first proposal for the construction of a lighthouse at Portland Bill was made by Sir John Clayton, in 1669. At the time Portland Roads was becoming increasingly popular for ships to shelter from gales, while the value of commercial shipping had risen since the Civil War. It was widely agreed that the number of ships being wrecked around Portland was too high. Clayton soon applied for a Crown Patent, to build a lighthouse designed to shine two lights vertically on the same tower. However due to the high financial costs attached to building and maintaining a lighthouse, the idea did not materialise.

In 1702 Charles Langrishe and Captain William Holman began to petition to William III for a lighthouse to be built at Portland Bill. A number of shipowners and the Weymouth Corporation supported the attempt. On 8 March 1702 the king died, and so no patent was granted. Despite Trinity House discarding the idea that Portland needed a lighthouse, Langrishe, Holman and their supporters continued to fight for one for over a decade. The pair finally managed to get Trinity House to concede that Portland Bill was a hazard to shipping, and in 1716 a 61-year lease was agreed upon for the pair to construct "one or more lighthouses with good lights to be kept continually there in the night season". The construction work began immediately, even before a patent had been granted in May 1716. With the twin lighthouses completed, the first lights shone on 29 September 1716. It had been decided to build two lighthouses, as this would give clear bearing at all times of day and night."

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Coastal Lighthouse: Lighthouse

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