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Tyne and Wear HER(1037): St. Mary's Island, St. Mary's Lighthouse - Details

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N Tyneside

St. Mary's Island, St. Mary's Lighthouse

St. Mary's Island



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Early Modern



St Marys Lighthouse, on St. Mary's , or Bait Island. Built in 1897/8 the lighthouse is 126ft tall. A chapel occupied the site in the medieval period and burned a light in its sanctuary as a warning to mariners. Although the chapel was dedicated to St. Helen, all guiding light are in the care of St. Mary. The present light went out of use in 1984 and is now part of a visitor centre {1}. Work started on the lighthouse in 1896 after several large ships, including the Gothenburg City, were wrecked on the rocks. It cost £8000. The kerosene lamp was first lit on 31st August 1898 by the two daughters of the builder, Mr J. Livingstone Miller. The lighthouse is built of brick covered in cement. The tower was not painted until September 1900. The iconic structure is painted white with green highlighting the window frames and doors. Trinity House took down the original passageway linking the tower and the dwellings, when the light was automated in the late 1970s. English Heritage - a striking landmark from sea and shore. A good example of a later C19 lighthouse. Designed by Sir Thomas Matthews, engineer-in-chief to the Trinity House Board. Has all the hallmarks of a C19 lighthouse - tall tower, glazed lantern, metal balustrade, domed metal roof and weather vane. Intact apart from the loss of window frames. Interior retains the corkscrew staircase and curved oak cupboard in lower service room. The lamp room retains original vents but the original oil lantern was lost when the lighthouse was automated. A smaller oil lantern from Withernsea Lighthouse has been installed. The lighthouse and cottages (HER 9428) compare well with other listed examples - Hale Head Lighthouse and Pendeen Lighthouse, the latter also designed by Matthews. Messrs J. Tweddle and Co of Newcastle provided the ironwork. The lighthouse was converted to electricity in 1977 and the kerosene lamp removed to a museum. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1984. It is now a museum. LISTED GRADE 2




<< HER 1037 >> I. Ayris & S.M. Linsley, 1994, A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Tyne and Wear, p.28; North Tyneside Council, 2005, St. Mary's Island Draft Conservation Area Character Statement; North Tyneside Council, November 2008, Register of Buildings and Parks of Special Local Architectural and Historic Interest SDP (Local Development Document 9); English Heritage Advice Report 30 March 2012, List Entry Number 1408299; N Pevsner et al, 1992, The Buildings of England: Northumberland, p 626; R Woodman and J Wilson, 2002, The Lighthouses of Trinity House; Northern Archaeological Associates, 2017, St. Mary's Island, Archaeological Assessment

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