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Beachy Head Lighthouse

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Beachy Head Lighthouse

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Beachy Head Lighthouse

The very first lighthouses at Beachy Head stood on the top of the towering white cliffs at the end of the Sussex Downs, guiding sailors in the English Channel away from the treacherous rocks along the shore.  (To read about the White Cliffs of Dover, click here.) Frequent fog and cliff collapses proved the cliff-top not to be the optimum position, so in 1902 the present lighthouse was erected, 165m out to the sea at the base of the troublesome cliffs. Electricity arrived in 1920, and the last lighthouse keeper left in 1983.

The lighthouse is now monitored from Trinity House in Essex, but the 43m of red- and white-striped Cornish granite, shining a light so powerful it can be seen up to 25 miles away, is still an important landmark for sailors and landlubbers alike.

Photo: Tim Sarson


Your comments

It's a classic, stripy lighthouse, surrounded by water at high tide, and it stands below the spectacular white chalk cliffs of the South Downs - a very English setting.

Roger Parsons

The Highest chalk cliff in England, a calm and peaceful giant at the edge of England, protecting the country from the worst nature and man can throw at our shores.
Charlie Beresford

I was there on Saturday, and there is something about the lone lighthouse stood apart from the beautiful white cliffs that fills one with a sense of Englishness. The white cliffs of the South have been spoken about in song and story whenever the discussion moves to the borders of England. They've been painted, sang about, used as backdrops for political broadcasts, you name it. The lighthouse, however, is also part of that story. For a sea-faring nation, it's of primary importance in guiding travellers safely home. The cliffs require the lighthouse. The noble lighthousekeeper figures in many of our tales - or did, until they all became automated. Also, the stripeyness is very cool, don't you think?

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I believe rice, peas and jerk chicken is an Icon of England.

Ade Adeluwoye