Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, Dorset

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Portland Breakwater Lighthouse
The Portland Breakwater Lighthouse in 2012
Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, Dorset is located in Dorset
Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, Dorset
Location Isle of Portland
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Year first constructed 1905
Construction cast iron skeletal tower
Tower shape hexagonal pyramidal tower with central cylinder, balcony and lantern
Markings / pattern white tower and lantern
Height 22 metres (72 ft)
Focal height 22 metres (72 ft)
Characteristic Fl W 10s.
Admiralty number A0314
NGA number 0464
ARLHS number ENG-107
Managing agent Portland Harbour Authority[1]

The Portland Breakwater Lighthouse is a functioning lighthouse located at the Isle of Portland, Dorset, England. The lighthouse is located in the commercial port of Portland Harbour, situated on the southern end of northeast breakwater, sitting close to the main derelict Portland Breakwater Fort, where the lighthouse operates in one of the largest man-made harbours in the world.[2] It is often rather forgotten by the public in regard to Portland's lighthouses.


Portland Breakwater Lighthouse and its surrounding defensive buildings.

The lighthouse was established in 1905 and has continued to function ever since. The first Portland breakwater light was shown in 1851, and afterwards from the fort at the end of the breakwater as then completed in 1876, before the lighthouse first shone out in 1905.[3]

The grand structure that sits alone on A-Head at the south end of the middle Breakwater. The lighthouse is at the height of 22 metres and is a white hexagonal structure.[4] Surrounding the lighthouse a small fort and various defensive buildings such as pillboxes.[5]

The lighthouse was originally lit by oil in the early 20th century, before it was changed to gas which used a clockwork turning mechanism. Today it is lit electrically with a modern LED lamp. In its current state, the lighthouse remains somewhat worn but still usable, after both weather and vandals have taken toll on it.[6][7]

A reported rumour in recent years spoke of the plans for the lighthouse to be removed, and refitted in Osprey Quay as a centre piece, as an attempt to give the lighthouse a new lease of life.[8] The lighthouse's current use continues to aid navigation of boats in the area, protecting mariners from collision with the Breakwaters, where it gives a white flash every 10 seconds.[4] One of the lighthouse's disused optical lens is displayed at Weymouth Museum, within Brewers Quay.

Lighthouse Staff

In the September 2005 newsletter of the South Dorset Amateur Radio, John Trotter of Australia, recalled memories of working at the lighthouse during the 1960s.[6][7]

See also


  1. Portland Breakwater (A Head) The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved May 4, 2016
  2. Breakwater Fort. "Dorset - History - Breakwater Fort". BBC. Retrieved 2012-11-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Scribbles. "Dorset Maritime History". Pbenyon.plus.com. Retrieved 2012-11-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Foghorn Publishing ... Lighthouse Explorer Database ... Portland Breakwater Light (England)". Lighthousedigest.com. Retrieved 2012-11-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Eastern Breakwater Portland Harbour:: OS grid SY7076 :: Geograph Britain and Ireland - photograph every grid square!". Geograph.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 "SDRS Catswhisker Contents - South Dorset Amateur Radio". Sites.google.com. Retrieved 2012-11-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Powered by Google Docs". Docs.google.com. Retrieved 2012-11-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Andy J Straw (2010-04-25). "Portland's 4th Lighthouse". Portland Rover. Retrieved 2012-11-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links