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Take a look around the inside one of Jersey's most famous landmarks...
It may be one of the most recognisable sights in Jersey, yet very few people have ever taken a look inside Corbiere Lighthouse.
Its one of Jersey’s most iconic landmarks, yet very few people have had the chance to step inside Corbiere Lighthouse. Just in case you don’t have the opportunity to join one of the tours (there are a few each month) BBC Jersey went on your behalf.
A British first
La Corbiere Lighthouse, designed by Sir John Coode, was Britain’s first reinforced concrete lighthouse and was completed in 1874 for the princely sum of £8000 (including the causeway and lighthouse keepers cottages!).
Despite the lighthouse becoming automated in 1976 the original fittings and mechanisms are in pristine condition, in fact the lighthouse has been complimented by Trinity House (the UK’s General Lighthouse Authority) as being one of the best kept lighthouses in the United Kingdom.
Lighthouse keepers (of which there were 4) would work in pairs and would spend 48 hours out at Corbiere, each man working 6 hour shifts, with both required to be on duty when conditions were particularly bad.
When the bell tolls...
Originally warnings were sounded by a bell coupled with the periodic detonation of an explosive charge, but as technology advanced this was replaced in 1933 with a foghorn blown using compressed air.
Today in times of poor visibility an electric fog horn blows 4 times every minute, but the earlier system is still in working order as a back up.
When the lighthouse first became operational (and until 1965) the light was provided by a vaporised paraffin lamp, with huge crystal encasing (still in use today) which magnifies the light rays so they are visible from up to 18 miles away.†
The shade, which shows the light for five second out of every ten, was originally driven by clockwork; with a large weight slowly descending down a pole running the height of the structure.
With the advent of electricity the paraffin flame was extinguished for the final time in 1965, nowadays a 1000 watt bulb is in its place.
During the German Occupation the light was switched out for the majority of the time, only turned on when German’s wanted to guide their own ships around the treacherous rocks. The lighthouse was relit for good on 19 May 1945.
The Germans also installed an extra level in the lighthouse (which has since been removed) to give the soldiers stationed there more space.†
To find out more information on tours around Corbiere, or to book your place on the next one, contact Jersey Tourism on 500700.
last updated: 30/04/2008 at 09:31
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