Lighthouses


This page includes the postcards showing Lighthouses in Geoff Topp's Collection. I am grateful to Dr. Stephen Pickles and Mike Millichamp's website HERE for additional information to enable me to correct errors in the original text on this page.

Bidston

Bidstone Lighthouse
The Bidston Observatory and Lighthouse.

Bidstone observatory was built in 1866 and its primary purpose was to determine the exact time. A gun based near Morpeth Dock and overlooking the River Mersey was fired electrically from the Observatory at exactly 1 PM every day; it was known as The one o'clock gun.

There has been a lighthouse on the Bidstone site since 1771. The first lighthouse was equipped with a parabolic reflector which was very advanced for its time. The mirror had a diameter of 12 Feet and Liverpool's Harbour Master, William Hutchinson, takes the credit for introducing parabolic reflectors into lighthouse optics. He is thought to have experimented with prototypes at the old signal station on Bidston Hill.

The second lighthouse, which is shown on the postcard, was completed in 1873 by Mersey Docks and Harbour Board to a design by George Fosbery Lyster. It served as Liverpool's principal lighthouse until 1913, and as an electric telegraph station until 1914. It was equipped with a state-of-the-art first-order dioptric lens with vertical condensing prisms, manufactured by Chance Bros. in Birmingham. The lighthouse ceased to be operational in 1913 and is now privately owned. Further information can be found HERE and HERE.

Liverpool appointed its first female lighthouse keeper in 1797, when Elizabeth Wilding was given the job at Bidston Lighthouse following the death of her husband Richard, the incumbent keeper. Trinity House never appointed a woman as principal keeper in 500 years.

Hoylake

Hoylake Lighthouse
The Hoylake Lighthouse.

Hoylake at one time boasted two lighthouses - both originally built in 1763. Their purpose was to assist vessels taking shelter when weather conditions prevented them from entering the Port of Liverpool. The upper lighthouse was built of brick and, according to Robert Stevenson who apparently visited it in 1801, was fitted with a reflector of silvered glass three feet in diameter which was illuminated by one wick. This upper lighthouse was rebuilt as an octagonal red brick tower in 1865, was last used on 14 May 1886. It still exists and forms part of a private dwelling house.

The original lower lighthouse was built from wood and designed so that it could be relocated should the river channel change. It aligned with the upper lighthouse and had the same kind of lighting. The lower lighthouse was rebuilt in brick in 1833 and again in 1865 with a tower 42 feet high showing a fixed white light that was visible for 11 miles. This is the lighthouse shown on the postcard. The lower lighthouse ceased operation on 14 July 1908 and was demolished in the 1920s to make way for the construction of the Winter Gardens Cinema. The site is now occupied by apartments.

Leasowe

Leasowe Lighthouse
This is the Leasowe Lighthouse at an unknown date.
Leasowe Lighthouse
This is the Leasowe Lighthouse - the date is thought to be about 1905.

This lighthouse was built in 1763 by the City of Liverpool and is claimed to be the oldest brick-built lighthouse in Britain. It was taken out of service in 1908; it has been preserved and houses a visitor centre.

Leasowe lighthouse had two female keepers. The last was Mary Elizabeth Williams, who was in post when the Lighthouse was discontinued.

New Brighton

New Brighton Lighthouse
Perch Rock Fort and the New Brighton lighthouse - believed to date from about 1906.
New Brighton Lighthouse
New Brighton lighthouse at low water in the age of sail. The date is not known.
New Brighton Lighthouse
New Brighton lighthouse at high water with sailing yachts passing. The date is not known.

The first lighthouse at this location was a wooden affair on a tripod and erected in 1683; it was frequently washed away. A new lighthouse, following the model of the Eddystone lighthouse, was completed in 1830 and is believed to have had one of the first revolving lights. It was taken out of service in 1973. The fort was completed in 1829 as a coastal defence battery to protect the port of Liverpool it had a museum which is currently (2019) closed. The future of the fort is uncertain.



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