St. Catherine’s Lighthouse
St. Catherine’s Lighthouse was built by Trinity House in 1838 to guide shipping in the Channel and vessels approaching the Solent.
Located on the Isle of Wight in England is the iconic St. Catherine’s Lighthouse. The facility, built in 1838, is a Grade II listed building and serves as a beacon for ships travelling through the area. The lighthouse is still operational today, with its state-of-the-art Fresnel lens emitting a white light every 5 seconds to warn vessels of their approach to coastal waters.
The lighthouse was constructed to replace an existing wooden tower near the location. In 1835, the wooden tower was destroyed by a severe gale that caused a large wave to hit the structure. The decision was made to build a new lighthouse, and work began in 1837. The lighthouse was completed in 1838 and opened to the public, with a resident lighthouse keeper appointed to maintain the beacon.
The lighthouse stands 65 feet tall and is made of granite, with a processional stairway to the light. The tower is octagonal and has an iron balcony that wraps around the top of the building. Inside the lighthouse, a first-order Fresnel lens emits a powerful beam of light visible for 17 nautical miles. The lens is still in use today and is considered one of the oldest in service in the United Kingdom.
The lighthouse has been a popular tourist destination in recent years, with visitors able to take guided tours of the facility. From the top of the tower, visitors have a spectacular view of the surrounding area, with the English Channel and coastline in view. The lighthouse is open to the public each weekend between April and October, with extended opening times during the summer months.
Formerly, St. Catherine’s Lighthouse on the Isle of Wight stood upon the Downs, but the prevalence of sea mists during certain portions of the year, which obscured the light, at last, led to the erection of the present building near the margin of the sea. It is one of the most powerful lights in the world, sending its rays far out over the sea and land as it revolves. When the sea mists arise, it has a powerful foghorn which can be heard for many miles. Close by is the reef at Rockenend, on which many a gallant ship has been broken up.