Harwich lighthouses celebrate 200th anniversary

Low Lighthouse, Harwich Image copyright Harwich Society
Image caption The Low Lighthouse - now the Harwich Maritime Museum - with the High Lighthouse in the background

Two historic landmarks in Essex are celebrating their 200th anniversary.

Harwich's High and Low lighthouses - known as "leading lights" - were built in 1818 to guide ships into harbour.

When the position of the channel changed in 1863, they were withdrawn from service but have since served as private homes and are now museums.

Harwich's Wireless and Television Museum is located inside the 90ft (33m) High Lighthouse - and it can be visited this weekend.

Those who climb the 100 steps to the top of the Grade II-listed building will be rewarded with panoramic views of the Tendring coastline.

Image copyright Harwich Society
Image caption The High Lighthouse as viewed from West Street in 1907
Image copyright © Tate, London 2018
Image caption John Constable's Harwich Lighthouse painting was first exhibited in the 1820s
Image copyright Harwich Society
Image caption The Low Lighthouse, which was often used as a shelter, in 1863

The 45ft (16.5m) Low Lighthouse - now home to the Maritime Museum - lies just 150 yards away.

Sailors would know if they were on the right path into the harbour if the lights were positioned on top of each other when viewed from the water.

David Whittle, vice chairman of the Harwich Society, said the leading lights were "very important local landmarks".

"For such a small place, Harwich has a lot of history. I learn something new every day," he said.

The High Lighthouse will be open on Saturday and Sunday between 10:00 BST and 14:00 as part of Heritage Open Days.

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