Pendeen Lighthouse - Photo by Philip Halling
Photo By Mega Monty
the inhospitable shore continues for a further eight miles or so, to the Western entrance of St. Ives Bay, the principal feature here being the Gurnards Head, on which many ships have come to grief.
Trinity House decided to erect a lighthouse and fog signal at Pendeen as a guide to passing vessels and warning of the dangerous waters around Pendeen Watch.
Designs for the building were prepared by Sir Thomas Matthews, a Trinity House Engineer, their construction being undertaken by Arthur Carkeek, of Redruth, with Messrs. Chance, of Birmingham supplying the lantern.
The buildings occupy a large area and before work could begin the cap of the Point had to be removed and the whole headland flattened, and the building of a huge retaining wall on the seaward side. By the beginning of 1900, Carkeeks men had only reached the half-way mark, although the lantern makers were ready to go ahead. Work thereafter progressed more rapidly and the light was commissioned on 26th September 1900. Some reports say the light was first lit on the 26th of January 1900, so perhaps there was a temporary light at first.
Within the tower itself are two rooms, one over the other, and above them the lantern which originally contained a five-wick Argand lamp, to which oil was pumped from the room below.
Photo by Paul Buckingham
Photo by Sarah Charlesworth
The other buildings are in an E shape and make up 3 complete keepers cottages and a forth smaller unit originally used for an office and space for the keeper on duty. The three cottages are now available as holiday homes. Behind the cottages there were three kitchen gardens but these soon fell into disuse as nothing would grow in such an exposed position. Originally the water supply for the homes was limited, water was collected on the flay roof of the accommodation units and fed into an underground tank.
One report says that at one point during the early 1900s the population of the site rose to four keepers, three wives, ten children, two dogs, three cats, five pigs, three goats, two ponies, about thirty chickens, and three geese. The geese apparently felt they owned the place, and refused to let the visiting local Superintendent, Lieutenant Harold Reading, get off his horse.
an old postcard of Pendeen
old postcard - date not known,
but later then the other 2 old photos
The lamp was replaced by an electric one in 1926. Around the lamp revolves an apparatus containing the lenses. This optic is very heavy, weighing 2½ tons, but as it floats in a trough containing 0.75 tons of mercury it can be set in motion by the smallest touch.
Pendeen Lighthouse was automated in 1995 with the keepers leaving the station on 3rd May. The original optic has been retained but a new lamp plinth with two position lamp changer has been installed along with an emergency light and a new fog signal with fog detector. The old fog signal building still displays the two diaphone horns, even though it is now a electronic fog horn
The lighthouse is now monitored and controlled from the Trinity House Centre at Harwich in Essex.
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